After confronting rising criticism that it hasn't done enough to restrain the growth of the right-wing conspiracy theorist group, Facebook announced Tuesday that it will remove all content related to QAnon, including nonviolent ideas. An initial policy instituted by the platform in August removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts if they discussed potential violence and also implemented a series of restrictions to limit their reach –– but now Facebook is removing all content regardless of violent content.
"Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content," Facebook wrote. "Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts that represent an identified Militarized Social Movement are already prohibited. And we will continue to disable the profiles of admins who manage Pages and Groups removed for violating this policy, as we began doing in August."
Since its conception nearly three years ago, the cult-like conspiracy group has created an omnipresent network of theorists spouting bizarre and unfounded claims about left-wing democrats and A-list celebrities banding together to operate child sex rings in a "deep state" effort to take down President Donald Trump, CNN reported.
"We are starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and need to continue in the coming days and weeks," Facebook wrote in a news update.
Facebook's Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce the policy and "proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports."
QAnon content has been tied to "different forms of real-world harm", Facebook said, mentioning a recent claim made by the radical theorist group that the west coast wildfires were caused by certain groups –– thus deflecting the attention of local officials from combating the fires and ensuring the safety of the public.
In August, President Trump praised QAnon followers for supporting him, CNN reported. "I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate," Trump said in the White House briefing room.
Ads that praise, support, or represent militarized social movements and QAnon were also prohibited on Sept. 29, Facebook said. Before then, in mid-August, Facebook removed over 1,500 Pages and Groups for QAnon that discussed potential violence and over 6,500 Pages and Groups tied to more than 300 Militarized Social Movements. It will continue to work with external experts to address QAnon supporters.