Facebook has removed nearly 800 groups with links to the far-right QAnon ideology. Trump, on the other hand, “appreciates” the movement.
After Twitter, Facebook has now also acted against the QAnon movement, which spreads conspiracy theories and supports US President Donald Trump. Facebook said on Wednesday it had removed nearly 800 groups connected to QAnon from its network. Around a hundred pages and around 1,500 advertisements with links to the movement were also removed.
Furthermore, according to the information, more than 300 so-called hashtags – i.e. keywords – related to QAnon on Facebook and the Instagram platform, which also belongs to the group, were blocked. In addition, restrictions on connections to the movement have been put into effect for more than 1,950 groups and 440 pages on Facebook and more than 10,000 Instagram accounts.
The short message service Twitter had already deleted thousands of accounts with connections to QAnon a month ago. The QAnon movement spreads the claim that the US is ruled by a criminal organization that includes former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, billionaire George Soros and various Hollywood stars. Many QAnon messages are anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist in character.
There are many Trump supporters among the QAnon supporters. Supporters of the movement recently took part in protests against the corona restrictions in the US.
Trump said at a press conference at the White House on Wednesday he didn’t know much about QAnon. But he noticed that the followers of the movement “like me very much, which I appreciate”. He heard “these are people who love our country,” said the president. In the US and other countries, the pressure on the operators of large online networks to take action against hate messages and false information has increased significantly in recent months. Facebook is therefore even exposed to an advertising boycott in which various large companies participate.
In the US, the debate about such online messages will be particularly intense in view of the presidential election in November. Facebook and other internet companies have already taken various measures against inciting, manipulative and misleading messages on their pages in the past few months.