TikTok has joined Twitter, Facebook and Reddit to come down hard on QAnon content by banning all hashtags related to the conspiracy. That said, TikTok will not be removing videos using the hashtags from its platform. Per the BBC, all content related to “QAnon,” “QAnonTruth” and the related phrase “Out of Shadows,” often used by QAnon believers are now being blocked by the video sharing app.
TikTok’s decision to block or restrict “QAnonTruth” searches following a question from the BBC’s anti-disinformation unit, which noticed that conspiracy videos using such hashtag had spiked. The video-sharing app was concerned that such information if allowed to continue to have a free reign could cause harm to the general public.
Last week, Twitter said it would begin treating QAnon content on its platform differently. Going forward, the company said it would remove related topics from its trending pages and algorithm recommendations. It went further to add that it would rid its platform of all associated URLs, and permanently suspend any accounts tweeting about QAnon that had previously been suspended.
The company said it would permanently suspend such accounts as part of measures to keep its platform safe for all “We will permanently suspend accounts Tweeting about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension— something we’ve seen more of in recent weeks.”
Specifically, the microblogging platform said enforcement will take effect from this week and that it would continue to provide transparency and additional context as it makes other related policy choices from time to time. Quoting a Twitter spokesperson, TechCrunch, reports that the action will affect 150,000 accounts and more than 7,000 QAnon-related accounts previously removed for violating Twitter rules around platform manipulation, evading a ban and spam.
Twitter’s action generated reactions from promoters of the QAnon theory who now think the microblogging platform took such step because it wanted to suppress their right to free speech. Quite naturally too, those behind the movement would express similar view as TikTok’s latest move begin to sink in. one thing is quite clear though, social media platforms are beginning to see the QAnon conspiracy theorist as a bad influence on users.
QAnon, which sometimes is referred to as “the Storm,” is popularly known for its connection to Pizzagate, which is a baseless conspiracy that accused Hillary Clinton of running a sex trafficking ring out of a Washington D.C pizza place. The conspiracy, according to TechCrunch, “inspired an armed believer to show up to the pizza shop, where he fired a rifle inside the restaurant, though no one was injured.”