YouTube announced in a Thursday blog post that they are expanding their hate and harassment policies to further crackdown on “harmful conspiracies” such as QAnon.
“Today we’re further expanding both our hate and harassment policies to prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence,” the company said in the blog post. “One example would be content that threatens or harrasses someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon or Pizzagate.”
“As always, context matters, so news coverage on these issues or content discussing them without targeting individuals or protected groups may stay up,” YouTube added. “We will begin enforcing this updated policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come.” (RELATED: ‘You’re Bringing It Up, And It’s Ridiculous’: Mark Meadows Blasts Chris Wallace Over QAnon Question)
In our reporting, YouTube was QAnon’s largest remaining radicalization driver.
This enforcement action puts YouTube somewhere in between Twitter (make QAnon accounts harder to find, ban overt harassment) and Facebook (outright ban on QAnon content).https://t.co/Se5hukd30G
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) October 15, 2020
YouTube said that they have already removed “tens of thousands of QAnon videos” and eliminated hundreds of channels based on their already existing policies. Two years ago, the company updated its recommendation system to curb the spread of “harmful misinformation” and saw an 80% drop in viewership of QAnon content coming from the recommendation system, according to the blog.
Some viral QAnon content was taken down Thursday, including a documentary-style film with over 15 million views and channels with millions of views and subscribers, NBC News reported. YouTube replaced the content with banners that explained that the removal was “due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.”
YouTube is joining other social media platforms in cracking down on QAnon, a far-right group that baselessly believes that Democrats and elites are operating a secret pedophile ring that President Donald Trump is trying to stop.
Facebook recently announced that they would be banning all QAnon content on all of their platforms, including Instagram, “even if they contain no violent content.” In July, Twitter announced that they were taking “strong enforcement action” against accounts associated with QAnon that “are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension.” The suspensions were expected to affect as many as 150,000 accounts associated with QAnon.