Facebook said Tuesday that it’ll take down Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that falsely alleges there’s a “deep state” plot against President Donald Trump, even if posts don’t contain violent content.
The social network’s tougher stance comes afterthat it would remove these QAnon accounts, pages and groups when they discussed potential violence, and would limit the reach of users tied to the movement.
Facebook said it’s taking strong action against QAnon content because it’s seen posts that included different forms of harm, such as false claims that certain groups started the west coast wildfires. Misinformation about the wildfires diverted the attention of local officials fighting the fires.
“Additionally, QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another. We aim to combat this more effectively with this update that strengthens and expands our enforcement against the conspiracy theory movement,” Facebook said.
The social network said it removed more than 1,500 QAnon pages and groups that contained discussions of potential violence. The company also pulled down over 6,500 pages and groups tied to more than 300 militarized social movements.
At the same time, Facebook has been criticized by advocacy groups and politicians for not acting quickly enough to curb the spread of QAnon content. Some lawmakers praised Facebook for taking a tougher stance against QAnon but said they’d keep an eye on how the policy gets implemented.
“Ultimately the real test will be whether Facebook actually takes measures to enforce these new policies — we’ve seen in a myriad of other contexts, including with respect to right-wing militias like the Boogaloos, that Facebook has repeatedly failed to consistently enforce its existing policies,” Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said in a statement.
Facebook said it would start enforcing the new policy against QAnon content now, but that “this work will take time and need to continue in the coming days and weeks.”