Social media company Facebook is banning all groups, accounts and pages involved with or "representing" a movement called QAnon. The company says its decision is an attempt to crack down on allegedly wild theories.
Apart from Facebook pages, groups and accounts, the company will take down Instagram accounts. A representative said accounts that mention the group or share content will not be removed. He added that only accounts that explicitly identify themselves as representative of or part of the group will be banned.
From what is known of the group it alleges a cabal of Satan worshipers is running an international child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against U.S. President Donald Trump. The group, which had previously been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a potential domestic terror threat, has been the cause of criticism for the social media company. Facebook was criticized for allowing such a group to exist. It was also criticized for cross-pollinating the group's beliefs with others such as antimaskers, anti vacciners, new age spirituality and others.
QAnon, which initially started as a thread on image board 4chan, has gained followers on social media. One of its latest theories, which Facebook said could lead to "real-world harm," alleges certain groups had started the wildfires on the West Coast.
Extremely conservative voters and some Republican politicians support the group. Trump, who is believed by the group to be leading a secret war against the sex traffickers, praised the group for supporting his administration. In August, Trump said during a White House briefing that he appreciated the group's "liking" of him. He said he didn't "know much about the movement."
In August, Facebook took down accounts promoting the group. It removed accounts that were promoting other militia and anarchist groups - and this saw the axing of more than 1,500 Facebook pages and groups.
"We've been vigilant in enforcing our policy and studying its impact on the platform but we've seen several issues that led to today's update," Facebook said.