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Facebook cracking down on QAnon and militarized social movements

Facebook cracking down on QAnon and militarized social movements
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Facebook is taking steps to hide content from groups affiliated with QAnon, a conspiracy theory that revolves around President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE fighting a deep state that includes a secret global cabal of pedophiles.

The company announced in a blog post on Thursday that it will ban all advertising that expresses "praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon."

It also announced that users who follow groups restricted under the company's past policies aimed at tamping down on conspiracy groups will see posts from restricted pages far lower down their news feed than before.

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"On September 16, we started down-ranking content in the Pages and Groups that have been restricted but not removed. Now, people who are members of Groups that have been restricted and follow Pages that have been restricted, will see content from these Groups and Pages further down in their News Feed," said Facebook.

"We are taking steps to address evidence that QAnon adherents are increasingly using the issue of child safety and hashtags like #savethechildren to recruit and organize. Starting today, we will direct people to credible child safety resources when they search for certain child safety hashtags," the company continued.

Facebook has faced criticism for months over the widespread prevalence of conspiracy-minded groups on its platform, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which many right-wing conspiracy pages have spread disinformation about everything from the virus itself to the effectiveness of masks and the safety of vaccines.

Company spokespeople did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

Facebook admins announced earlier this year that 20 Facebook accounts and six groups originating in the U.S. and linked to the QAnon movement had been removed under the site's policies against inauthentic activity.

The QAnon conspiracy theory, which emerged first on right-leaning anonymous message boards, baselessly alleges that the Democratic Party, and in particular its 2016 nominee, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Texas Supreme Court rejects Alex Jones request to toss lawsuits from Sandy Hook parents Paris Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing MORE, are linked to a global ring of pedophiles. Posts linked to the conspiracy theory's mysterious author have in the past falsely claimed that Clinton herself would be arrested as a result of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.