Facebook has removed many profiles, pages and groups pushing QAnon conspiracy theories because of its investigations in the lead-up to the 2020 political race.
The organization declared the account expulsions as a feature of its April report on “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. The organization additionally evacuated networks of accounts connected to Russia and Iran, just as VDARE, an anti-immigration group in the US.
The removal marks the first run through Facebook has openly declared an activity against QAnon, a far-right conspiracy group that began on 4Chan and has been prohibited on different stages like Reddit. Facebook didn’t indicate precisely who was behind the exertion, just that the “investigation found links to individuals associated with QAnon.”
Facebook’s Head of Security Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said the accounts pre-date the coronavirus pandemic, but that “we’ve seen them opportunistically leverage COVID-related topics.”
“They frequently posted about news and topics including the upcoming presidential election and candidates, the current US administration, anti-Semitic and anti-Asian conspiracies, and COVID-19,” Facebook wrote in a report on the takedowns. “While it did not appear to be the focus of this campaign, some of the individuals behind this effort attempted to monetize their clickbait content by selling t-shirts and other merchandise.”
As NBC News calls attention to, the pages speak to just a “fraction” of QAnon supporters’ Facebook presence. While Facebook means to expose and conceal conspiracy theories and falsehood, the organization doesn’t evacuate posts that don’t, in any case, disregard their principles.
Together, the five pages, 20 accounts, and six groups arrived at more than 150,000 Facebook clients, the organization said. One hundred and thirty-three thousand users had followed at least one of the pages, and 30,000 had joined at least one of the groups. While that’s a tiny subset of Facebook’s 195 million US users, it still highlights how a small number of “fringe” accounts can gain relatively wide distribution on the social network.