YouTube updated its guidelines Thursday to prohibit QAnon and other dangerous conspiracy theory content that targets individuals and groups.
“Today, we are taking another step in our efforts to curb hate and harassment by removing more conspiracy theory content used to justify real-world violence,” YouTube said in a statement.
That content includes videos related to QAnon, a dangerous and cultish conspiracy movement that falsely claims high-ranking members of government, media and entertainment belong to a satanic pedophile ring, and that President Donald Trump is secretly working to combat these supposed forces of evil. QAnon encompasses many other baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories, and the once mostly-online movement has bled into the real world, sometimes with dangerous consequences. The FBI has designated QAnon as a domestic terror threat.
While YouTube’s new policy aims to take down content that specifically targets individuals and groups (for instance, QAnon adherents often target politicians and celebrities with their dangerous lies), the company stopped short of outright banning all QAnon-related videos.
“Additionally, we’ve removed tens of thousands of QAnon videos and terminated hundreds of channels under our existing policies, particularly those that explicitly threaten violence or deny the existence of major violent events,” YouTube said in its statement.
The policy change comes just over a week after Facebook announced it was banning all groups and pages associated with QAnon. Earlier this year, Twitter also took steps to combat the spread of dangerous misinformation spread by QAnon followers.
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