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YouTube cracks down on QAnon conspiracy theory by expanding hate, harassment policies

YouTube cracks down on QAnon conspiracy theory by expanding hate, harassment policies
Posted at 10:21 AM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 14:49:36-04

YouTube announced Thursday that it had made updates to its hate and harassment policies that resulted in a further purge of videos about the QAnon conspiracy theory.

In a blog post on Thursday, YouTube said it was updating the policies "to prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence."

The social media platform said the new policy would ban videos that "threatens or harasses someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon or Pizzagate."

It's unclear how many videos, users or channels would be removed from the platform due to the policy changes.

YouTube is the latest social media platform to crack down on content that espouses the conspiracy. In July, Twitter eliminated thousands of QAnon-linked accounts and limited others from spreading content linked to the conspiracy. Last week, Facebook said it would ban any page, group or Instagram account that represents QAnon.

QAnon is a conspiracy theory that began on anonymous imageboard 4chan in 2017, which alleges that President Donald Trump is fighting a secret cabal of pedophiles and Satanists run by his political opponents, A-list celebrities and other global leaders. After jumping from 4chan to Reddit, the conspiracy spread to more mainstream social media outlets and exploded over the summer under social media groups with names like "Save Our Children."

QAnon believers have been associated with several violent incidents, including a 2018 incident where an armed man prompted a standoff with police on the Hoover Dam.

President Donald Trump has praised the conspiracy's supporters.

"I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate," Trump said in August.

Multiple Republicans running for Congress have also voiced support for the conspiracy theory.