The Online Hate Prevention Institute welcomes Facebook’s move to ban QAnon. The QAnon movement, which started on 4chan and 8chan (see our Halle report for more on them), has been rapidly absorbing and spreading conspiracy theories including those based on the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and more recently those based on conspiracy theories about COVID-19. It out of containment, into mainstream social media then out of social media into real world protests and activities.
The QAnon has been linked to extremist and violence. As ABC (American) reported, a declassified FBI field office report called them a “potential domestic terror threats” while a research paper from the Combating Terror Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point called them a “militant and anti-establishment ideology [which] finds resonance with other far-right extremist movements.”
In one sense this is another iteration of the Alt-Right which escaped from its obscure 4chan / 8chan online origins and moved into real world impact when Trump ran for President in 2016. In other, this is far larger. It is a cult that has taken on the trapping of religion, be powered through social media, and played into people’s fears (many different fears for many different people) in order to absorbed them.
Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute commented,”QAnon promotes the idea of deep state and distrust in the systems of government. That distrust is increasingly being expressed in calls for violence. Conspiracy movements that sow distrust, hate and a sense of urgency for extreme action are a powder keg waiting to destroy society. Facebook is right to remove it.”
Below is an example of the sort of posts coming from people presenting themselves as part of QAnon. This is taken from Gab, not Facebook, and the danger now is that even if all the mainstream platforms follow Facebook’s lead… QAnon will continue to grow in fringe platforms and will continue to attract people towards those platforms. If the claims of Q’s identity are right, that would all be part of the plan.