TikTok rival Triller announces ban on QAnon conspiracy theory content

  • Triller, a TikTok rival that has unabashedly hosted QAnon content, told Insider on Tuesday that it would ban the conspiracy theory movement following a wave of similar actions by other tech companies. 
  • "We are a platform that believes in freedom of speech, expression, open discussion and freedom of opinion, however when the government classifies something as a terrorist threat we must take action to protect our community," Triller CEO Mike Lu said in a statement. 
  • TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy have each announced bans on the rapidly growing conspiracy theory movement, though success in enforcement has been mixed.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Short-form video app Triller will now ban all content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, a representative for the platform told Insider on Tuesday evening. 

Triller CEO Mike Lu told Insider in a statement that the platform came to the decision because of the FBI's reference to QAnon as a possible domestic terrorism threat. The FBI made that warning about QAnon, a baseless far-right conspiracy theory that alleges President Donald Trump is fighting a deep-state cabal of human traffickers, in an intelligence bulletin from the agency's Phoenix field office in August 2019.

"We are a platform that believes in freedom of speech, expression, open discussion and freedom of opinion, however when the government classifies something as a terrorist threat we must take action to protect our community," Lu said in a statement. 

Triller is a rival app to the short-form video juggernaut TikTok, which has already announced attempts to ban on QAnon-related content. In the wake of TikTok's move, QAnon content has "flourished" on Triller, The New York Times' Taylor Lorenz reported.

As of Tuesday night, the hashtags for #QAnon and #QAnonBeliever were disabled on Triller, though the movement's shortened slogan, #WWG1WGA, which stands for "Where we go one, we go all," still functioned as a hashtag page yielding QAnon videos. 

Tuesday evening's statement was a stark change from the platform's previous public stance on the rapidly growing QAnon community. 

Ryan Kavanaugh, Triller's majority owner, recently told The New York Times that the app had no intention to ban QAnon, saying that "if it's not illegal, if it's not unethical, it doesn't harm a group, and it's not against our terms of service, we're not going to filter or ban it." 

Kavanaugh added that the platform didn't want to be an "arbiter of truth." 

"We don't pick a side in anything, we're about freedom of speech. We're not going to decide what mud we think is dirty and what mud we think is clean," he said. 

The announcement comes a week after Facebook announced it would attempt to banish pages, groups, and Instagram accounts devoted to the conspiracy theory. Twitter has announced a similar crackdown on QAnon, as have other companies like Etsy and Peloton. 

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