Clapper has moved to ban accounts spreading QAnon conspiracy theories and vaccine misinformation in the wake of a Verge report last month.
Clapper CEO Edison Chen told The Verge on Thursday that the company will permanently ban QAnon-related content going forward. As of publication, Chen said Clapper has removed over 400 videos and 20 accounts for spreading QAnon or anti-vax misinformation and has increased its number of content auditors from around a dozen to 20. It will take Clapper up to 10 days to complete a full audit of its over 1 million videos, Chen said.
“We take this matter very seriously,” Chen said in an email to The Verge on Thursday. “After investigating, we decided to take action to remove and ban accounts regarding QAnon and mis-info about vaccines… which are against our mission.”
Chen continued, “From today, if additional users were to post QAnon-related content, it will be removed. We have zero tolerance about QAnon.”
Clapper launched last July as a “Free Speech Short video” app, mimicking platforms like TikTok but with less content moderation. After January’s deadly attack at the Capitol, QAnon content was largely banished from social media. The “free speech” platform Parler, which had a largely conservative-leaning user base, was forced offline by its web hosts after failing to respond to reports of violent threats on its platform.
Like Parler, Clapper became a popular app for conservatives who disagreed with the content moderation decisions of large tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. The Verge report found that some QAnon Clapper users were able to build large followings using hashtags like #thestorm and #thegreatawakening. One Q-related account identified by The Verge, belonging to Clapper user Josh Sardam, appears to have been removed as of publication.
Clapper’s QAnon ban puts the smaller platform’s policies in line with those at larger tech platforms like Facebook and TikTok. Last October, Facebook moved to completely ban QAnon, calling it a “militarized social movement.” Other platforms, like Twitter and TikTok, have also decided to ban the content outright in recent months.