Enlarge /. A woman wearing a QAnon conspiracy theory sweatshirt gestures during a pro-Trump rally on October 11, 2020 in Ronkonkoma, New York.
Stephanie Keith | Getty Images
Left-wing nonprofit media affairs have identified 27 congressional candidates who have endorsed or believed QAnon or promoted related content. Last month, a director of Citigroup's information technology division was sacked after being identified as the operator of one of QAnon's top websites.
Rather than imposing a total ban, YouTube has some reservations about its changes: "Content is discussed [conspiracy theories] without addressing individuals or protected groups," says the platform, as well as reporting the issues.
The updates, introduced just weeks before the U.S. vote, are due to researchers becoming increasingly frustrated with how little information is available from YouTube about how much misinformation and coordinated manipulation is found on the platform and how it is being handled .
Others have pointed to shortcomings in the enforcement of existing policies. An outside study by Media Matters, conducted prior to the announcement, found that QAnon's top 17 YouTube channels, with more than 4.7 million subscribers, explicitly violated the Terms of Service.
The move will likely lead some QAnon believers to a constellation of smaller alternative platforms with less stringent guidelines for content moderation. Experts have also warned that members of the movement have already infiltrated less controversial communities, such as those devoted to child protection, where they often seek to attract new converts by presenting a less political version of the QAnon narrative.
YouTube said it will start enforcing the new policy immediately, adding that it will "ramp up in the coming weeks".
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