US media is reporting that YouTube has joined Facebook and other social media companies in taking action against the conspiracy theory/movement known as QAnon. According to a New York Times report:
Oct. 15, 2020 YouTube on Thursday became the latest social media giant to take steps to stop QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory community whose online fantasies about a cabal of satanic pedophiles running the world have spilled over into offline violence. The company announced in a blog post that it was updating its hate speech and harassment policies to prohibit “content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.” The new policy will prohibit content promoting QAnon, as well as related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, which falsely claims that top Democrats and Hollywood elites are running an underground sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant. Other social networks have also taken steps to curb the spread of QAnon, which has been linked to incidents of violence and vandalism. Last week, Facebook hardened its rules related to QAnon content and compared it to a “militarized social movement” that was becoming increasingly violent. This week, several smaller platforms, including Pinterest, Etsy and Triller, also announced new restrictions on QAnon content. Under YouTube’s new policy, which goes into effect today, “content that threatens or harasses someone by suggesting they are complicit” in a harmful theory like QAnon or Pizzagate will be banned. News coverage of these theories and videos that discuss the theories without targeting individuals or groups may still be allowed.
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The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) earlier reported that the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency is attempting to use social media accounts to boost the role of conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon. According to the BBC, QAnon is:
…a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that says that President Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media. QAnon believers have speculated that this fight will lead to a day of reckoning where prominent people such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed.
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