YouTube Becomes Latest Tech Giant to Curb QAnon
By Rob Copeland
YouTube took action against the conspiracy group QAnon, banning
videos that call for violence, following the lead of social-media
companies that have cracked down on such content.
YouTube said Thursday in an unsigned blog post that it would
immediately "prohibit content that targets an individual or group
with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world
violence." The company previously had broad and general limits on
potentially harmful speech.
The platform, a unit of Google, explicitly called out movements
such as QAnon -- a conspiracy that alleges a secretive group of
child traffickers controls the world and is undermining President
Trump -- and Pizzagate, a debunked theory that involved Hillary
Clinton and an alleged child-abuse ring housed in a Washington,
D.C. pizza parlor.
The development puts Google and parent Alphabet Inc. further
into an area the conglomerate has sought to avoid: the outright
removal of content. Last year, for instance, YouTube yanked
advertising revenue from, but didn't ban, videos that used antigay
and racist language to describe a progressive video producer.
Other Silicon Valley giants have led the way against QAnon.
Facebook Inc. in August said it would remove QAnon pages and groups
that include discussions of potential violence. The social network
tightened the policy this month, banning any pages dedicated to
QAnon across its platform, including Instagram.
Twitter Inc. and LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft Corp., have also
taken steps against QAnon.
YouTube, by far the world's largest video platform, said it had
already removed tens of thousands of videos and cut off hundreds of
QAnon channels. Some related content will remain, namely news
coverage on the issue or discussions that don't explicitly target
individuals or what YouTube calls "protected groups."
YouTube, in the blog, said it may take further action "due to
the evolving nature and shifting tactics of groups promoting these
Write to Rob Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 15, 2020 14:11 ET (18:11 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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