Top line

YouTube became the newest technology platform on Thursday to restrict QAnon content, but the Alphabet unit didn’t directly ban posts on conspiracy theory like Facebook did last week.

Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks during the “What Matters Next” session during the Cannes Lions … [+] Festival 2018 on June 19, 2018 in Cannes, France.

Photo by Francois G. Durand / Getty Images

Key factors

YouTube updated its policy to “ban content aimed at individuals or groups with conspiracy theories used to justify violence in the real world”.

Content that “threatens or harasses someone by suggesting they are involved in one of these harmful conspiracies like QAnon or Pizzagate” would be banned, YouTube said.

Previously, YouTube only removed QAnon content when it violated other policies related to hatred or harassment and attempted to de-reinforce “borderline” content that did not explicitly violate its rules.

Since 2019, YouTube’s effort to disamplify QAnon content has resulted in a 80% drop in views of prominent QAnon channels from referrals.

Some prominent Q channels have already been removed due to the action, but some are still on Twitter lamenting the ban.

Key background

As QAnon grows in popularity, social media platforms are taking more aggressive action. Facebook banned QAnon earlier this month. Twitter blocked QAnon topics from its trending section in July. Etsy, Peloton, and Pinterest have also recently taken steps to curtail the fantastic conspiracy theory that says President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a child trafficking ring run by the Deep State and Satan-worshiped global elites.

What to look for

Even those that are banned may still be present on YouTube. QAnon followers often co-opt legitimate topics like #SaveTheChildren, use dog whistles, and disguise their terminology to evade filters. QAnon continues to have a strong presence, particularly on Twitter, despite company policies.