facebook qanon groups removal

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QAnon groups purged by Facebook ahead of 2020 election

Facebook removed the accounts in an effort to combat 'coordinated inauthentic behavior.'

May 5, 2020, 7:01 pm

Tech

Allyson Waller 

Allyson Waller

Facebook announced in a recent report it removed a number of accounts linked to the QAnon online community last month on the heels of the 2020 presidential election.

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The Verge reports the effort is an attempt to tamper down on “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on the platform. The new Facebook report defines this behavior as part of “influence operations” in which “accounts and pages (seek) to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing.”

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Facebook removed five pages, 20 Facebook accounts, and six groups in relation to the QAnon network, according to the report.

QAnon followers are often associated with “fringe conspiracy theories,” according to Facebook, and envision “a massive purge of the deep state,” the Daily Dot previously reported. Originating on the website 4chan, the conspiracy network has been linked to far-right media and supporters of President Donald Trump.

Trump has shared posts from QAnon accounts on multiple occasions, especially on sites such as Twitter.

One of the screenshots included in Facebook’s recent report show posts related to the QAnon network. One post reads, “World War 3 will be humans versus government. Only then will freedom begin. Let us unite for that purpose.”

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Another post features a link to a video from the Epoch Times, titled “1st Documentary Movie On The Origin of the CCP Virus,” in reference to the Chinese Communist Party. The Epoch Times has been criticized for its coronavirus coverage that some say fuels “racial tensions.”

“We know that people looking to mislead others — whether through phishing, scams, or influence operations — try to leverage crises to advance their goals, and the coronavirus pandemic is no different,” Facebook said in a statement within the report.

Although these pages were taken down in April, Facebook said all the networks it removed last month in response to “coordinated authentic behavior” were created prior to the pandemic.

Facebook is working to refine its stance toward topics such as conspiracy theories and disinformation ahead of the 2020 election in efforts to avoid the waves of criticisms it endured after the 2016 election.

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“We are making progress rooting out this abuse,” the company stated in its April 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report. “But as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing effort.”

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*First Published: May 5, 2020, 7:01 pm