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QANON: FACEBOOK WITHDRAWS ACCOUNTS OF CONSPIRACY GROUPS ACROSS PLATFORMS

Facebook has begun the withdrawal of all accounts, pages and groups linked to the conspiracy group QAnon from its platforms, the social media giant has said. 


"Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts," the company said in a statement released on Tuesday, October 7. 


Facebook, frequently under fire for not adequately curbing the spread of fake news and conspiracy theorists on its platforms, had earlier taken measures to crackdown on QAnon.  


The company's first attempt to curb the conspiracy movement focused on removing the groups and pages which contained violent contents. 


However, Facebook will delete this time, even the pages which do not contain violent content if they are associated with the QAnon movement, the statement released on Tuesday said. 

READ ALSO: FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, TWITTER URGED BY EU TO DO MORE IN TACKLING DISINFORMATION

In August, the social media giant announced it had removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon. It also said it restricted 1950 groups and 440 pages on its Facebook platform and More than 10,000 accounts linked to QAnon were restricted on Instagram. 

WHAT IS QANON? 

QAnon is a conspiracy theory movement spreading the disinformation that US President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a powerful network of paedophiles whose influence extends across the government, business and entertainment world. 

The QAnon conspiracy movement is an upshot of the 2016 "pizzagate" saga- an unfounded theory which claimed Democratic Party politicians were running a paedophile ring out of a Washington pizza restaurant.


It began gaining prominence in October 2017 when an anonymous user who claimed to have a high level of US security clearance began spreading unfounded cryptic posts on the message board 4chan.  


The messages soon began spreading on Facebook and other social media platforms. 


In 2019, the FBI designated QAnon a potential domestic extremist threat, warning about "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists". 

In August, The US President Trump was asked to speak on the widely speculated conspiracy theory of the QAnon movement which claimed that he was saving the world from a satanic cult of paedophiles. 


In response, Trump said he doesn't know much about the movement, although he understands that they like him, which he appreciates very much.

 "I have heard that it gaining in popularity‚Ķ I've heard these are people that love our city other than they do supposedly like me," Trump said. "I haven't heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?"


Other social media platforms have also taken steps to curb the QAnon conspiracy theorists activities.

In July, Twitter and TikTok announced measures to crack down on QAnon content.

Twitter said it had banned thousands of accounts relating to QAnon, adding that it would stop recommending sites linking to the movement's site.


TikTok also announced that it had deleted hashtags that signposted QAnon videos. 

Facebook has said removing all accounts linked to QAnon will take some time that will probably span into the coming days and weeks but reiterated its stance to detect QAnon content and remove efficiently proactively. 

"Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports," the social media giant said.

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