Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would ban all accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory in a significant escalation against the theory’s proponents.
QAnon holds that President Trump is fighting a cabal of satan-worshipping pedophiles made up of members of the “deep state,” Hollywood, and the media. There is some doubt regarding the number of QAnon supporters who genuinely believe the theory’s assertions. However, a Georgia Republican congressional candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has expressed support for parts of the theory, and failed Republican candidate Laura Loomer has also allegedly backed the conspiracy.
“Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks.”
A company spokesperson added that the ban will limit the “ability of QAnon and Militarized Social Movements to operate and organize on our platform.”
The FBI has warned that proponents of QAnon could be led by their beliefs to commit “criminal or violent acts.”
The presence of congressional candidates who support QAnon-related theories has sparked some consternation in Washington. Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) slammed remarks by President Trump in August, in which Trump appeared to say he appreciated that QAnon followers supported him.
“QAnon is nuts–and real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories,” Sasse told the Washington Post at the time. “If Democrats take the Senate, blow up the filibuster, and pack the Supreme Court–garbage like this will be a big part of why they won.”