Searches for the hashtags #OutOfShadows, #FallCabal, and #QAnonTruth now yield zero results, as do searches for the hashtags #wwg1wga and #QAnon. As Rolling Stone has previously reported, such hashtags amassed millions of views prior to being removed from the platform.
A TikTok spokesperson told Rolling Stone such content contained disinformation, which is prohibited in the platform’s community guidelines, and confirmed that it was working to make QAnon-related content more difficult to find in its search function. TikTok will also be working to remove conspiracy theory-related videos and accounts, though some hashtags were still searchable on the platform as of this writing.
In the past, TikTok has been subject to scrutiny for promoting QAnon or QAnon-adjacent conspiracy theories, such as the belief that Wayfair is involved in a massive child trafficking ring. TikTok has also recently played host to the debunked conspiracy theory speculating that Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged procurer for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was somehow involved in the murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
QAnon refers to a conspiracy theory that a left-wing deep state is, among other things, secretly involved in the trafficking of children. Supporters of the theory believe that President Donald Trump will one day round up and arrest the individuals involved in this ring, and that he is covertly dropping hints — so-called “breadcrumbs” — about this plan.
In recent months, the movement has become increasingly mainstream, with various congressional candidates publicly espousing the theory. QAnon has also been linked to real-world events, such as various terrorism threats and the 2019 fatal shooting of mob boss Frank Cali, which was allegedly motivated by shooter Anthony Comello’s belief he was a member of the deep state. Last year, the FBI also designated QAnon a potential terrorism threat.
TikTok’s move to restrict QAnon-related content comes on the heels of a similar move by Twitter to permanently suspend an estimated 7,000 QAnon-related accounts and remove QAnon-related hashtags from its trending topics section. In a statement to Rolling Stone, a spokesperson for Twitter said the action was motivated by the coordinated harassment of various high-profile individuals by QAnon-related accounts.