Facebook announced the new measures on Tuesday, explaining that the decision updates a policy imposed in August targeting QAnon accounts “containing discussions of potential violence,” broadening the ban to any profiles affiliated with the movement. The policy will also apply to Instagram.
“Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” the company said, arguing that the group is tied to other types of “real world harm.”
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.
Starting today, we'll remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even without violent content. This is an update from August when we began removing Pages, Groups and accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence. https://t.co/Gm60rwOwY9
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 6, 2020
The initial ban on accounts promoting violence saw over 1,500 QAnon pages and groups scrubbed from the platform, as well as more than 6,500 linked to other “militarized social movements,” including Antifa and various militia groups. However, the new sweeping ban does not appear to apply to the other movements, singling out the pro-Trump conspiracy community by name.
The move has been blasted as another clamp-down on free expression online, with even some self-avowed opponents of QAnon deeming it “chilling for free speech.”
QAnon’s idiotic, but this is chilling for free speech. I don’t foresee it being long before the courts start to look at Facebook et all as quasi-public spaces where at least some level of scrutiny is appropriate.
— Dusty Moonshine (@DustyMoonshine) October 6, 2020
when social media platforms get into content filtering you know the end is near
— LFXS (@lfxs1212) October 6, 2020
Others questioned why the new ban targeted QAnon alone, even as a number of militant left-wing groups openly “discuss which city they are going to burn down next.”
But not Antifa, even though they're literally a terrorist organization with cells in every major city, complete with uniforms and flags. https://t.co/mQAewCzGKW
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) October 6, 2020
Facebook is banning all Qanon accounts for researching. Yet Antifa and BLM are still allowed to discuss which city they are going to burn down next. pic.twitter.com/HwzRy59khw
— Jimmy Holland (@BluesBrother91) October 6, 2020
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