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16th of November 2018

Technology



Reddit bans QAnon conspiracy theory forums

Reddit banned a community made up mostly of men who blamed women for not losing their virginity or forming a relationship.

Reddit banned a community made up mostly of men who blamed women for not losing their virginity or forming a relationship. (Reuters)

Several Reddit communities devoted to QAnon, a collection of radical “deep state” conspiracy theories, were banned from the site Wednesday.

On the page for the “/r/greatawakening” community, Reddit says the forum — known as a subreddit — was removed for “violations of our Content Policy, specifically inciting violence, harassment, and the dissemination of personal information” by its users.

Several other subreddits devoted to the conspiracy theory were also banned, according to The Verge.

QAnon began with an anonymous post on the 4chan message board claiming to be from a mole inside the US intelligence community. The conspiracy theory became infamous for spreading outrageous claims involving government agencies coordinating to thwart President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Some of the conspiracy theory’s believers are notorious for posting racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic screeds against the media, government officials and prominent Jewish figures.

In a statement to The Post, a Reddit spokesperson said: “As of September 12, /r/greatawakening has been banned due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy. We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites violence, disseminates personal information, or harasses will get users and communities banned from Reddit.”

The subreddit was among the largest pro-Trump groups on the site, behind the /r/The_Donald community. Last month, the /r/The_Donald forum started banning mentions of QAnon, NBC News reports.

After the crackdown, believers in the conspiracy theory fled to other parts of Reddit to vent their frustration, with one user comparing the shutdown with the oppression of German Jews during World War II.

“If anything this just gives more credibility to Q anon,” stated user CommaHorror on the /r/conspiracy community.

“Reddit is straight cancer now,” complained user AdamJensenUnatco.

QAnon was pushed into mainstream media coverage by personalities like InfoWars host Alex Jones and Fox News host Sean Hannity. It gained national attention when followers began bringing signs with the letter Q to Trump rallies across the country.

President Trump brought more attention to QAnon when he welcomed conspiracy theorist Michael Lebron to the White House and they snapped a picture together in the Oval Office.

When confronted about QAnon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The president condemns and denounces any group that would incite violence against another individual and certainly doesn’t support groups that would promote that type of behavior.”

Sanders did not reference the conspiracy theory directly in her answer, nor did she deny it.

The complicated web of wild, unsubstantiated claims has ties to the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which alleged that then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was behind a child sex ring operating inside a Washington, DC-based pizza shop.

That conspiracy theory, widely debunked by the Metropolitan Police Department, came to a head when a North Carolina man opened fire in the pizza restaurant with an AR-15 while “investigating” the allegations. The man — Edgar Welch — later pleaded guilty to federal charges of transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines and assault with a dangerous weapon.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

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