Facebook has removed thousands of Pages, Groups and accounts on its main app and Instagram tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations like Antifa and far-right conspiracy theory group QAnon.
The social network said it removed over 790 groups, 100 Pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon from Facebook, blocked over 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram, and additionally imposed restrictions on over 1,950 Groups and 440 Pages on Facebook and over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.
QAnon emerged in the US President Donald Trump era and its supporters believe that Trump is waging a hidden battle against a secretive elite known as the “Deep State”.
For militia organisations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa, it removed over 980 groups, 520 Pages and 160 ads from Facebook.
“We’ve also restricted over 1,400 hashtags related to these groups and organisations on Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Antifa is an anti-fascist political movement in the US, comprising a diverse array of autonomous groups that aim to achieve their objectives through the use of both non-violent and violent direct action rather than through policy reform.
The US government has been trying to tackle several anti-government extremists, specifically those who support the far-right “boogaloo” movement and left-wing radicals who identify as Antifa.
Facebook said that Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with these movements and organisations will be removed when they discuss potential violence.
“We will continue studying specific terminology and symbolism used by supporters to identify the language used by these groups and movements indicating violence and take action accordingly,” it said.
In the near future, content from these Pages and Groups will also be ranked lower in News Feed.
“We will prohibit nonprofits we identify as representing or seeking to support these movements, organizations and groups from using our fundraising tools,” Facebook said.
Twitter in July removed more than 7,000 accounts associated with QAnon, citing concerns about offline harm.