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19 Aug, 2020 22:22

Facebook purges & restricts THOUSANDS of QAnon, Antifa & militia accounts, stretching definition of ‘dangerous individuals’

Facebook purges & restricts THOUSANDS of QAnon, Antifa & militia accounts, stretching definition of ‘dangerous individuals’

Facebook has removed thousands of groups and pages related to the QAnon conspiracy after expanding its concept of ‘dangerous individuals’ to include those who merely ‘celebrate violent acts.’ Streisand effect, meet slippery slope.

The social media behemoth announced a sweeping crackdown on militia groups, “offline anarchist groups that support violent act amidst protests” (i.e. Antifa), and the pro-Trump psy-op QAnon in a blog post on Wednesday.

Explaining that groups which “have celebrated violent acts” or “shown they have weapons and suggest they will use them” will have content removed under its expanded Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, Facebook reassured skittish Q fans and Antifa protesters that their organizations wouldn’t be banned for life – just severely restricted and prevented from reaching anyone else.

Also on rt.com Twitter’s ban of QAnon conspiracy theory for vague ‘offline harm’ link only makes them stronger, & the censorship won’t stop there

Nearly 1,000 groups and pages and over 1,500 ads related to QAnon were removed in Wednesday’s purge, while lesser restrictions were imposed on a whopping 10,000 Q-related Instagram accounts (along with almost 1,500 groups and pages on Facebook). The survivors were put on notice that Facebook would be monitoring them for “specific terminology and symbolism” being used to covertly discuss or plot violence.

In an unusual move, Facebook even went after liberal darling Antifa – though very gingerly, referring to “militia organizations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa” in its announcement that some 1,500 groups and pages in this category had gotten the ax.

Restricted groups and pages won’t be recommended to other users and will be buried deep in the platforms’ news feed and search functions. They won’t be allowed to advertise or sell products on Marketplace, and anyone supporting them will similarly have their commercial abilities stomped on.

However, as Facebook continues to exile ever-broader swathes of online conduct from its platforms, users must invariably ask what constitutes “celebrating violent acts” – a phrase that would seem to describe TV news reporters who wax poetic about “the beauty of our weaponry” as missiles rain down on Syria as much as it does Antifa kids cheering when one of their number lobs a Molotov cocktail into a police car.

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The purge also fails to take into account the Streisand effect, in which attempting to suppress content backfires and ends up drawing even more attention to that content. Twitter announced a similar purge of QAnon-linked users last month, unleashing another round of pearl-clutching stories about the conspiracy theory and raising its national profile. Indeed, several candidates running for office in November are QAnon supporters – a notion which would have been unthinkable had the cult-like adherents of the phenomenon remained undisturbed on their platforms of choice. However, because a central tenet of QAnon is that the ‘Deep State’ shadow government doesn’t want Americans researching its activities, social media’s heavy-handed censorship plays right into their hands.

Facebook also recently expanded its already-sprawling list of banned “hate speech” to include blackface makeup and commenting on “Jewish people running the world or controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government,” acquiescing to a lengthy list of demands from censorship advocates, the Anti-Defamation League, following a month-long advertiser boycott.

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