Reddit has banned its subreddit devoted to QAnon conspiracy theories, stating that it violated rules against “inciting violence, harassment, and the dissemination of personal information.” NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny tweeted about the ban of r/GreatAwakening earlier today. It’s the second high-profile purge of a QAnon subreddit — a board called r/CBTS_stream was banned in March for repeatedly violating Reddit guidelines. Some of the subreddit’s users have regrouped on Reddit clone Voat, which takes a more hands-off approach to moderation.
The QAnon conspiracy theory, which is based around cryptic internet comments from an anonymous poster known as “Q,” began on 4chan and 8chan but has incubated on Reddit. (A Vox analysis found user overlap with pro-Trump subreddits and more general conspiracy subreddits, among other boards.) It’s a fringe conspiracy theory, but it has a few high-profile supporters like Roseanne Barr, and its adherents have made real-life appearances at Trump rallies. One apparent QAnon proponent was arrested after blocking the Hoover Dam in June.
We’re not sure exactly what was behind today’s ban of r/GreatAwakening, as well as the QAnon backup subreddits r/The_GreatAwakening and r/thegreatawakening, both of which were apparently shut down for inciting harassment. However, it comes just a day after Reddit banned the popular “Million Dollar Extreme” subreddit for inciting violence. Reddit has previously banned the thematically related Pizzagate conspiracy subreddit. And The New York Times Magazine published an article about QAnon yesterday, which may have put extra focus on r/GreatAwakening — although QAnon has gotten plenty of media coverage already.