After Twitter and Facebook, YouTube announced on Thursday it was toughening its rules against the spread of conspiracy theories for violent ends, in particular QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy movement that has gained ground in recent months, galvanized by protests against racism and the presidential election of November 3.
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Google’s hate and harassment video platform regulations now prohibit “content that targets individuals or groups of people with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-life violence,” a statement said. .
The social network with 2 billion monthly users also says it has removed tens of thousands of videos linked to QAnon and banned hundreds of channels, in particular for having “threatened to use violence” or “denied the existence of events. major violence ”, such as the Holocaust.
QAnon is a far-right movement that defends the idea that US President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a global liberal sect made up of satanist pedophiles.
Born on social networks in 2017, it has grown in popularity thanks to the massively shared posts on Facebook and Instagram.
The American network giant announced on October 7 the withdrawal of all accounts and content linked to the movement on its main platform and on Instagram, even pages that “do not contain violent content”.
Facebook has indeed noticed that supporters of these many conspiracy theories went from one subject to another to constantly attract new audiences.
Its members pose as activists against child trafficking and use keywords such as #SaveTheChildren (save the children).
As an example of conspiracy theories that can degenerate in the real world, YouTube mentions the “pizzagate”: during the 2016 election campaign, Internet users claimed on the anonymous discussion forum 4chan that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was involved in a pedophile ring established in a pizzeria in Washington.
Convinced by this false information, a man had attacked this restaurant with an assault rifle, causing no casualties.
With less than three weeks of a high-tension election, the platforms are stepping up measures to pacify exchanges and prove that they are not vehicles for messages of hatred and disinformation.
All seek a precarious balance between removing the most problematic content, highlighting information considered reliable and respect for freedom of expression.