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YouTube cracks down on Qanon, but stops short of ban

Under a new policy, which YouTube announced in a blog post Thursday, the company will prohibit conspiracy theory content that is "used to justify real-world violence," including videos that suggest individuals or groups are complicit in QAnon.

Unlike Facebook's wholesale ban on QAnon accounts, YouTube will allow QAnon videos to stay up if they don't explicitly target individuals or groups.

YouTube cast its decision as part of a years-long evolution of its hate and harassment policies. According to the blog post, since January 2019, QAnon-related YouTube channels have seen an 80% drop in traffic from non-subscribers clicking on YouTube's recommendations. In 2018, YouTube changed its recommendations in order to prevent them from nudging users toward increasingly extremist content. Now, YouTube says this latest change could limit QAnon's spread even more.

"Managing misinformation and harmful conspiracy theories is challenging because the content is always shifting and evolving," the post reads. "To address this kind of content effectively, it's critical that our teams continually review and update our policies and systems to reflect the frequent changes."


Expensify CEO David Barrett: ‘Most CEOs are not bad people, they're just cowards’

"Remember that one time when we almost had civil war? What did you do about it?"

Expensify CEO David Barrett has thoughts on what it means for tech CEOs to claim they act apolitically.

Photo: Expensify

The Trump presidency ends tomorrow. It's a political change in which Expensify founder and CEO David Barrett played a brief, but explosive role.

Barrett became famous last fall — or infamous, depending on whom you ask — for sending an email to the fintech startup's clients, urging them to reject Trump and support President-elect Joe Biden.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

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