Facebook has long struggled to contain the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform, and the burgeoning QAnon movement is no exception. Despite announcing a crackdown on the popular conspiracy theory in August, it is still reportedly very easy to find QAnon content across Facebook.
As an experiment, reporters from Vox created brand new accounts on both Facebook and Twitter to discover how easy it was to “fall down the QAnon rabbit hole.” And the answer was, unsurprisingly, very. After they searched for the movement on Facebook, the reporters said that the first three links they saw were from legitimate news sources discussing the phenomenon. After that, however, they were served a steady stream of propaganda.
Because of Facebook’s size and divided focus, it’s unlikely it will ever fully be able to solve problems like this —and even the company itself admits it.
“In August, we expanded our policy to address QAnon, but this is a challenge that requires ongoing vigilance,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Since people will always create new Groups, content, and hashtags to try and evade our enforcement, our internal specialists work with external experts to keep our finger on the pulse of this activity so we can enforce our policies.”
As always, the best defense against online misinformation is for all of us to simply be more informed users. If we don’t click on these links and don’t share them, harmful information dies on the vine. If we can’t count on Facebook to solve its problems by itself, we must be more responsible and shoulder some of the burden ourselves.
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