TikTok Tightens Crackdown On QAnon, Will Ban Accounts That Promote Disinformation

Author : Ploorepicoo
Publish Date : 2020-10-21


TikTok Tightens Crackdown On QAnon, Will Ban Accounts That Promote Disinformation

TikTok is toughening its stance against the QAnon conspiracy theory, expanding its ban to all content or accounts that promote videos advancing baseless ideas from the far-right online movement.

The action hardens the video-sharing app's previous enforcement against QAnon that targeted specific hashtags on the app that QAnon supporters have used to spread unfounded theories. Now, users that share QAnon-related content on TikTok will have their accounts deleted from the app.

"Content and accounts that promote QAnon violate our disinformation policy and we remove them from our platform," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to NPR. "We've also taken significant steps to make this content harder to find across search and hashtags by redirecting associated terms to our Community Guidelines."

TikTok's sweeping action against QAnon comes just as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other technology giants have announced bans on content from the Trump-supporting conspiracy theory. QAnon started in October 2017 and has amassed an enormous following online thanks largely to social media companies.

"There should be recognition of a thing that is good and significant, even if it's long overdue," said Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters for America. "TikTok is recognizing that by the nature of the QAnon movement, you can't just get rid of their communities, the content itself is the problem."

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Earlier this month, Media Matters identified more than a dozen hashtags TikTokkers used to spread QAnon conspiracy theories about President Trump's positive coronavirus test, false beliefs about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and videos questioning the reality of the pandemic.

"We're talking about hundreds of millions of video views just for a limited segment of QAnon communities that we identified," Carusone said.

TikTok, which has 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., made its expanded ban against QAnon quietly in a statement to Media Matters, where it garnered little attention. A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the policy to NPR on Saturday. A company official said it has been TikTok's internal policy since August.

Hany Farid, a UC Berkeley computer science professor who is a member of TikTok's committee of outside content moderation experts, said there is tension within social networks over how to respond to misinformation without also amplifying the underlying theories.

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