QAnon YouTubers sue platform after their channels were removed
A group of QAnon conspiracists sued YouTube after their channels were taken down earlier this month in an attempt to crack down on “harmful conspiracies,” according to reports.
The plaintiffs — composed of 15 people who promote the fringe-right movement online — are asking a judge to issue a temporary restraining order for their accounts to be reactivated, according to a report by Insider.
Their accounts were taken down starting Oct. 15 when YouTube announced a policy barring content that promotes “conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence,” the outlet reported.
The group, which believes the government is part of a vast child-sex conspiracy, has been linked to violence and at least one murder — and deemed a potential threat for domestic terror by the FBI.
But the suit’s plaintiffs claim that the platform went after conservatives rather than conspiracy theorists, violating the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights, according to the lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California on Monday.
“YouTube’s massive de-platforming, which occurred just three weeks before the 2020 Presidential election, worked to the severe detriment of both conservative content creators and American voters who seek out their content,” the court papers allege, according to the report.
The plaintiffs — some of whom have hundreds of thousands of followers — claim that if they don’t get their accounts running before the Nov. 3 election, there could be irreparable harm since their channels address issues surrounding the election and its aftermath, the report says.
And “YouTube took this draconian action so swiftly” that the users didn’t have time to download their content, the court documents claim, according to a report by Law and Crime.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, is also named as a defendant in the case.
YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph said in a statement, “We cannot comment on pending litigation, but our policies are updated regularly to meet new challenges, like harmful conspiracies that have been used to justify real-world violence.
“We have a dedicated policy team that works to review our policies and adjust them as needed. We apply our policies consistently regardless of who owns the channel.”
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