Facebook has followed Twitter and decided that QAnon’s Qnonsense represents sufficient risk that it should be turfed out. Or at least some of it.
“Today we are taking action against Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon,” the company wrote in a statement.
But that action is typically convoluted.
The statement says that the likes of QAnon are now covered by Facebook’s “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy” on grounds that they “have demonstrated significant risks to public safety but do not meet the rigorous criteria to be designated as a dangerous organization and banned from having any presence on our platform.”
That rationale means Facebook “will allow people to post content that supports these movements and groups” but will insist “restrict their ability to organize on our platform.”
Twitter Qracks down on QAnon and its Qooky Qonspiracies
Facebook hasn’t explained exactly what it means to have organizing restricted, but has outlined actions it will take under the policy including:
- Removing them from Facebook when they discuss potential violence. The company says it will also “continue studying specific terminology and symbolism used by supporters to identify the language used by these groups and movements indicating violence”, which sounds like it means someone at Facebook has had “Boogaloo” explained to them;
- Not recommending such Pages or Groups to users;
- Reducing their ranking in News Feed, limiting their appearances in search;
- Removing Instagram’s Related Hashtags feature, but reviewing it so that once it returns users are less likely to be led to hashtags for the dangerous groups;
- Banning the groups from monetising their efforts with Facebook ads, fundraising tools or e-commerce facilities.
Some of the above has already translated into action: Facebook says it’s removed “over 790 groups, 100 Pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon from Facebook, blocked over 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram, and additionally imposed restrictions on over 1,950 Groups and 440 Pages on Facebook and over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.”
But of course the company also let those communities flourish, sometimes for years, despite QAnon’s central tenet – a deep-state cabal of satan-worshipping paedophiles is working to overthrow Tweety McTreason and sometimes goes about its gruesome business in a Washington DC Pizza parlor – is utter nonsense and has already led to acts of violence. ®