Facebook removed more than 78,000 profiles on both Facebook and Instagram, saying they had posted QAnon content and content related to “militarized social movements” since August 2020.
The company added that “these groups are constantly working to avoid our enforcement and we’ll continue to study how they evolve in order to keep people safe.”
Facebook added that “as of January 12, 2021, we have identified over 890 militarized social movements to date and in total, removed about 3,400 Pages, 19,500 groups, 120 events, 25,300 Facebook profiles and 7500 Instagram accounts. We’ve also removed about 3,300 Pages, 10,500 groups, 510 events, 18,300 Facebook profiles and 27,300 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against QAnon.”
“These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service,” Twitter said on Jan. 11, citing the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The coordinated purge started on the same day Twitter announced it will permanently suspend the account of President Donald Trump. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, conservatives, and civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union decried Trump’s suspension.
The QAnon movement follows clues from cryptic messages posted to anonymous imageboards. A prominent aspect of the theory alleges that global elites are part of a satanic pedophile ring.
Prominent pro-Trump figures, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who embraced some of QAnon’s slogans, and Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell—who filed a number of third-party lawsuits related to the November 2020 election—were also purged from Twitter.
Last week, the social media company suspended several Antifa-linked accounts related to riots on Inauguration Day.
“Our comrades w The Base (@TheBasebk), an anarchist social center in Brooklyn, NY of 9 years now took this Twitter thing seriously,” Antifa Sacramento wrote on the platform. “Reaching a platform of 17k followers they pushed a very specific line where politics were never blurred. Today, Twitter took their account down, and now theres a void.”