Facebook is banning QAnon content across its platform. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous, Brian Sozzi, and Dan Howley break down the details.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: We're going to stick with big tech here and talk Facebook, because the company is taking some action against the spread of conspiracy theory QAnon. The social media giant says it's going to ban all content from the QAnon movement across its platform, which by the way has a core following of about 600,000 people on Facebook alone. Our tech editor, Dan Howley, joining us for more on this one. So Dan, what will this ban entail exactly?
DAN HOWLEY: This is similar to what we saw previously with Facebook's ban on QAnon. But this is going beyond just the basic acts of violence or kind of speech that would look to promote violence. This is taking out the group's pages entirely so that QAnon wouldn't be able to have kind of that fan base on Facebook and those areas where they can propagate. They're just going to ban the groups outright from Facebook platforms.
And this would not necessarily stop accounts from being able to discuss the conspiracy theory. It would cut off the ability for them to come together and then spread that out even further. So it is a big move. It's one of the biggest steps we've seen from Facebook so far.
And it's interesting, because this is something that more or less became an issue because of Facebook-- and social media in general's-- ability to spread these kinds of ideas. So it's kind of the flip side of what Facebook allows when they say they want a free marketplace of ideas. It's the dark side of that. And it appears they're finally taking it seriously enough to take this down.
BRIAN SOZZI: Dan, why is Facebook doing this now?
DAN HOWLEY: I think it's just a matter of fact that, you know, QAnon has become so large. It's moved from the fringes in a short period of time, just a few years, to become part of a mainstream conversation, where we have members of Congress now running who are adherents to the QAnon belief system-- which again, is just ridiculous. It's about pedophiles, Satanists who, I guess, harvest the fear of children to then inject themselves with it, fear, somehow. I don't understand it entirely.
But Facebook obviously taking on this movement and basically saying, look, we're not going to allow this on our platforms anymore. But again, that doesn't stop people from discussing it in their own kind of mentions in their own ways on their own walls or the walls of friends.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Hey, Dan, how are other social media platforms dealing with QAnon content?
DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, other social media platforms have been a lot more aggressive than Facebook has in the past. Twitter, Reddit-- they've all kind of made moves against this group. You know, this is something that is seen as a potential national security threat. It could have adherents that commit acts of violence. We've seen that already.
So I think Facebook going ahead and taking this down, obviously, shows that they're willing to make some moves to take care of the violence that can be perpetuated through the speech that's allowed on its platforms. But they still have a long, long, long way to go.
Facebook, again-- you know, they were responsible, or at least partly responsible, for some of the violence in Myanmar that we had seen last year and the year prior, where that kind of hate speech was propagated there. They did make moves and WhatsApp when baseless rumors led to gang violence and gang attacks in India.
But you know, this is the first time we're really seeing this in the US, where it's a big issue. And I think it really has to do with the fact that, look, QAon has become something that's not fringe anymore. It's part of, unfortunately, the mainstream. And as I said, there are candidates running for Congress right now who believe this baseless theory.