In recent weeks, Facebook has made moves to limit the spread of QAnon conspiracy content on its platform. However, the social media giant took an aggressive and unprecedented step this week to ban QAnon altogether — even if the groups and accounts contain no explicit discussions of violence.
Even though the FBI warned last year that the conspiracy theory could pose a domestic terror threat, Facebook has largely allowed it to flourish on the platform, only removing content that promotes violence. However, the company said this week that it is expanding its view of what constitutes “real-world harm” caused by these groups.
“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,” Facebook wrote in a blog post announcing the move. “QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another.”
This is a bold move for Facebook, especially considering how much engagement the company receives from users seeking QAnon content. While it may open itself up to cries of censorship, it’s ultimately the right thing for Facebook to do to remove misinformation, hate speech and spam of all stripes.
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