Facebook, Instagram Ban QAnon Conspiracy-linked Accounts

Facebook on Tuesday announced a ban on all accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy group, as the social network tries to clamp down on misinformation ahead of the heated US presidential election.

The move against QAnon at Facebook and its image-sharing platform Instagram comes as the online giant tries to avoid being used to deceive or confuse voters, as was the case during the 2016 election that put US President Donald Trump in the White House.

“We will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” the internet titan said in a blog post.

From an anonymous 2017 posting claiming bizarre child exploitation and political plots, the headless and bodiless movement has earned a place in Trump’s Twitter stream.

The FBI last year said in a report that QAnon was one of several movements that could drive “both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

The conspiracy theorist group QAnon (supporters pictured August 2020) claims without evidence that the pandemic is a conspiracy by a cabal of satanist paedophiles who control the world The conspiracy theorist group QAnon (supporters pictured August 2020) claims without evidence that the pandemic is a conspiracy by a cabal of satanist paedophiles who control the world Photo: AFP / Kyle Grillot

The ban on QAnon accounts steps up Facebook’s efforts to clamp down on misinformation campaigns sometimes endorsed by Trump, weeks ahead of the November 3 presidential election.

“Facebook’s decision to ban QAnon from all its platforms is a much needed, if belated, step to purge dangerous conspiracy theories from the platform,” said Anti-Defamation league chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt.

“We hope that this is a sincere effort to purge hate and antisemitism from their platform, and not another knee-jerk response to pressure from members of Congress and the public.”

The moves made across Facebook and Instagram were against accounts tied to “offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests,