Just days after revealing its latest restriction on the conspiracy theory and related content, Facebook has made another announcement: it is entirely banning QAnon content from its platform. Facebook has explained why it decided to take this step, which will also impact related accounts located on Instagram. According to Facebook, it will spend the coming weeks deleting any Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, and Groups related to QAnon.
The removal of this content will apply even to Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts that do not contain violent content, an update on the policy Facebook first introduced in August. Under that previous removal announcement, Facebook had said that it would remove the QAnon content only if it involved discussions of violence; other accounts and such would only be restricted.
Administrators behind these accounts, Pages, and Groups will have their accounts disabled, according to Facebook, which says that it started doing this back in August. Though enforcement of the updated policy has started today, the massive number of QAnon-related content means it will take weeks for Facebook to purge it all, though it won’t depend entirely on user reports.
Facebook has a dedicated Dangerous Organizations Operations team that it says will ‘proactively’ find this content and remove it. The company explained in its update that:
These are specialists who study and respond to new evolutions in violating content from this movement and their internal detection has provided better leads in identifying new evolutions in violating content than sifting through user reports.
As for the reason it changed its policy, Facebook says that multiple issues are at play. Discussions, celebrations, and support of violence are only one problem the QAnon conspiracy theorists present, for example, with Facebook stating that it has seen these same groups also engage in other harmful behavior, including things like blaming the recent wildfires on certain groups.
By updating the policy and removing all of the content, Facebook says that it will be better able to address the issue of QAnon rapidly latching on to new topics that it uses to gather more supporters.