Facebook is escalating the company’s crackdown on QAnon by deciding to ban all groups and pages devoted to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory.
The company’s previous crackdown, which started back in August, originally focused on removing QAnon groups and pages that contained discussions of potential violence. Meanwhile, the remaining QAnon content was down-ranked, burying its availability on users’ News Feeds and in the search bar.
Now Facebook has decided to essentially purge the rest. “Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” the company wrote in today’s announcement.
If you’re unfamiliar, QAnon supporters believe that President Trump is fighting a secret war against Satan-worshipping pedophiles, who include Hollywood celebrities and Democrat politicians. According to Facebook, supporters of the conspiracy theory have also been quick to spread other kinds of misinformation that’s proving to be dangerous.
“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,” the company said.
“Additionally, QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another,” Facebook added.
Facebook says the QAnon purge will occur over the next several days and weeks. However, the company won’t be targeting individual posts about QAnon, only accounts dedicated to spreading the conspiracy theory, according to NBC News.
Still, cracking down on QAnon may be easier said than done. NBC News also points out supporters of the conspiracy theory have been shifting tactics online and dropping the use of the word “Q” and “QAnon” to avoid getting banned.
In response, Facebook said: “We expect renewed attempts to evade our detection, both in behavior and content shared on our platform, so we will continue to study the impact of our efforts and be ready to update our policy and enforcement as necessary.”