Facebook Amps Up Its Crackdown on QAnon

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Facebook Amps Up Its Crackdown on QAnon

October 6, 2020 | technology | No Comments

Facebook, facing criticism that it hasn’t done enough to curb a fast-growing, fringe conspiracy movement, said on Tuesday that it would remove any group, page or Instagram account that openly identified with QAnon.

The change drastically hardens earlier policies outlined by the social media company. In August, Facebook unveiled its first attempt to limit the spread of QAnon, by establishing policies that barred QAnon groups that called for violence.

But hundreds of other QAnon groups and pages continued to spread on the platform, and the effort was considered a disappointment in many circles, including among Facebook employees.

On Tuesday, Facebook acknowledged that its previous policies had not gone far enough in addressing the popularity of the far-right conspiracy movement.

“Facebook has been instrumental in the growth of QAnon. I’m surprised it has taken the company this long to take this type of action,” said Travis View, a host of “QAnon Anonymous,” a podcast that seeks to explain the movement.

Since QAnon has become a key source of misinformation on a number of topics, Mr. View said, the action announced by Facebook is likely to have a far-reaching impact in “slowing the spread of misinformation on Facebook and more generally across social media.”

Nearly 100 Facebook groups and pages, some with tens of thousands of followers, have already been affected by the changes, according to a survey conducted by The New York Times using Crowdtangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool.

Facebook said that it had begun to enforce the changes on Tuesday, and that it would take a more proactive approach to finding and removing QAnon content, rather than relying on people to report content.

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