QAnon is a wide-ranging set of outlandish beliefs that began on anonymous messaging boards in 2017. Believers think a cabal of satanic elites rule the world. They either oppose coronavirus restrictions or don’t believe the virus exists at all and are largely — though not wholly — supporters of President Donald Trump.
YouTube’s announcement stops short of banning all QAnon content outright. Instead, the company promises to remove videos “used to justify real-world violence.”
“One example would be content that threatens or harrasses someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon or Pizzagate,” the announcement said.
YouTube has been a key platform for QAnon personalities who make videos for supporters and believers. Some of the biggest accounts began disappearing immediately after the announcement, and YouTube said it will continue enforcement in the coming weeks.
Facebook and Twitter have already implemented bans on QAnon-related content. After a series of less severe measures, Facebook announced on Oct. 6 that it would ban all Pages, Groups, and accounts related to promotion of the mass delusion. Twitter announced that it would crack down on QAnon content in July, noting its potential for real-world harm.
The focus on harm comes after supporters of QAnon have been associated with several violent acts both across the US and across the world. The FBI has called the delusion a domestic terror threat.
For his part, Trump praised QAnon during a White House press briefing in August, calling believers “people who love our country.”