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Facebook is falsely flagging conservative users as ‘dangerous’ and ‘associated with QAnon’

Conservatives and Republicans are being limited by Facebook and flagged as 'dangerous' by the platform.

Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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On Monday night and Tuesday morning, admins of public Facebook pages of conservatives and Republicans began noticing a limiting of features and warnings on their dashboards. These include radio hosts, writers, and political candidates.

By Wednesday, a warning label started appearing on search results for these pages as well. "This search may be associated with dangerous content," the headline read. "This search may be associated with a dangerous conspiracy movement called QAnon," the warning read. "Experts say QAnon and the violence it inspires are a significant risk to public safety."

Many of these pages, like myself, had never even posted about or discussed the QAnon theory or any form of violence.

One of the victims of the mislabeling, The Todd Starnes Show, immediately appealed directly to Facebook, noting that the website’s content has never advocated violence or extremist positions. "This was a very troubling development, especially since so many third-party fact checkers utilized by social media platforms are actually controlled by left-wing journalists," Starnes said during his nationally-syndicated radio program.

Facebook apologized to the Todd Starnes Radio Show yesterday. "This issue was due to a bug," our Facebook contact told us. "When we first launched the Redirect Initiative for QAnon today, there was a glitch that caused people to see information about this topic when they searched for unrelated terms. We’ve paused this Redirect while we fix the issue."

Facebook has not been as responsive to others including myself and the restrictions and warnings on pages remain. This recent targeting is the latest allegation in what appears to be a pattern of targeting and censorship of conservatives and republicans on social media platforms. Republican Senators. Ted Cruz, Linsey Graham and Josh Hawley last week called on the heads of Twitter and Facebook to testify before Congress, as critics claimed the social media platforms have been censoring reporting critical of Democrats.

"This is election interference and we're 19 days out from an election," Cruz, R-Texas, said. "It has no precedent in the history of democracy. The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know what the hell is going on."

The action comes as both Twitter and Facebook took steps to stop the widespread dissemination of an explosive New York Post report last week alleging that emails from Hunter Biden that link his father, former Vice President and current Presidential candidate Joe Biden, to his Ukraine business dealings.

The QAnon internet conspiracy theory is based on information from a purported government informant known as "Q," which allegedly could be more than one person posting anonymously to online messaging boards. The conspiracy baselessly alleges that Trump is secretly fighting a war against a "deep state" consisting of a cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires that run the world while engaging in pedophilia, human trafficking and the harvesting of a supposedly life-extending chemical from the blood of abused children and that satanic Democrats and Hollywood "elites" who control child sex trafficking and the President is planning on sending them all to Guantánamo Bay.

As an openly and very public orthodox Jew on my social media, it troubled me to be accused of being associated with well known anti Semitic conspiracy theories of QAnon. Extremism Project senior research analyst Josh Lipowsky told the Jewish News Syndicate that the QAnon theory has roots in old forms of Anti Semitism including blood libels. "QAnon conspiracies are centered around the idea of a powerful elite secretly manipulating current events,"

Lipowsky labeled QAnon "a modern-day version" of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which QAnon echoes in its conspiracy theories. Protocols, an infamous and classic anti-Semitic text that was shown to be plagiarized from several earlier sources, was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages and disseminated internationally in the early part of the 20th century.

Although QAnon conspiracy theories "don’t all target Jews," said Lipowsky, "they use the same strategy that anti-Semites have used for centuries." Lipowsky cited "the conspiracies QAnon is peddling with the coronavirus, blaming Bill Gates for creating the virus or seeking to implant microchips into vaccines," in that "it’s all reminiscent of the baseless accusations the Jewish community has faced—from responsibility for the black plague by poisoning the wells of Europe to the Rothschilds’ manipulation of World War I and the Great Depression for financial gain. Like those historic anti-Semitic conspiracies, some of the QAnon conspiracies target the Rothschilds or other wealthy and powerful Jewish individuals."

"Conspiracy theories with tenuous ties to reality very often include Jews in some sinister capacity," Yaakov Menken of the Coalition of Jewish Values told JNS. "When you know what to look for; you see supporters of both QAnon and [Black Lives Matter] saying the same things, and that should require our attention."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told JNS that "QAnon is all conspiracies, all the time. Since its inception, the Internet has provided life support for debunked conspiracies, breathing life back into some nefarious stereotypes."

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