Top line

In an election cycle as major social media companies try to stop the spread of QAnon, which is growing in popularity across the various platforms, TikTok is tightening its existing restrictions and banning content and accounts that spread the rambling and unfounded conspiracy theory. NPR reports.

SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Key factors

“Content and accounts that promote QAnon violate our disinformation policy and we are removing them from our platform,” TikTok Forbes confirmed in a statement.

The company added that it had taken “significant steps” to make QAnon content and hashtags more difficult to find, with the platform redirecting related terms to its community guidelines.

NPR reports that accounts sharing content related to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, will be deleted.

TikTok told Forbes that the policy had been in place “for a while”. However, the move was apparently “tacitly” confirmed to Media Matters earlier this month before being confirmed to NPR on Sunday.

Big number

488 million. That’s how many combined views have been collected in 14 QAnon-related hashtags on TikTok as of June this year, according to Media Matters.

Key background

TikTok’s latest move against QAnon builds on the restrictions introduced in July, where the platform removed related hashtags like QAnonTruth, Fall Cabal and Out of Shadows from search results, but videos with those hashtags could still be viewed, the BBC reports. The Chinese-owned app works with Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to track the spread of the movement, which was sparked in 2017 by an anonymous message on the 4Chan website and claims to have come from a US government official with the highest security clearance. From the edge of the internet, wild and false claims that President Donald Trump is waging a secret war on a high-profile pedophile ring worshiping Satan have spread to popular social media and are unlikely to be a topic of conversation during presidential debates while some of his supporters are running for Congress.

tangent

TikTok itself is still embroiled in a fight to stay active in the US after President Trump threatened to essentially ban the app unless it finds up as part of his wider crackdown on Chinese tech firms over national security concerns a US buyer on November 12th.

further reading

YouTube takes action against QAnon, but does not ban it entirely (Forbes)

Twitter Extends QAnon Restrictions To Include Candidates And Elected Officials (Forbes)

Trump Promotes Unfounded QAnon-Endorsed Conspiracy Theory Claiming Obama Staged Bin Laden’s Assassination (Forbes)