Facebook in its attempt to stopping extremism on its platform had completely blocked a radical fringe conspiracy group QAnon with the exception of posts from individual profiles as it marks the organization “militarized social movements”. This change was announced on the Facebook’s article page as an update of its previous moderation back in August which banned about 1,000 QAnon groups.
“Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content. This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement,” the company writes in its update. A Facebook spokesperson tells The Verge that while the ban targets organized behavior on the platform, it does not prohibit individuals from posting about QAnon to their person Facebook profiles.
The social network giant stated that QAnon contents which purports that a secret society of pedophiles is plotting against the US President Donald Trump stating this to represent an “identified Militarized Social Movement,” which is currently being prohibited under its rules.
Facebook is basically classifying QAnon as an extremist militia group but not at the same level of a terrorist organization or a full-fledged hate group.
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“We are starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and need to continue in the coming days and weeks,” Facebook writes. “We’ve been vigilant in enforcing our policy and studying its impact on the platform but we’ve seen several issues that led to today’s update. For example, while we’ve removed QAnon content that celebrates and supports violence, we’ve seen other QAnon content tied to different forms of real world harm, including recent claims that the west coast wildfires were started by certain groups, which diverted attention of local officials from fighting the fires and protecting the public.”
Facebook unlike other social networking platforms has taken its own stance from a gradual perspectives while addressing the conspiracy movement’s fast growth across its social networks in stages. With that, Facebook had faced numerous backlashes about allowing the platform to be used in spreading misinformation with potentially dangerous “real-world side effects” as The Verge puts it.
Facebook most recently tried to combat QAnon’s takeover of a hashtag, #savethechildren, by injecting “credible” information for users to find when searching for child safety content on the platform. It also banned ads praising the movement and other “militia and anarchist” groups.