In what they claim was a glitch, Facebook issued a warning to users who searched “Let Us Worship,” a Christian worship organization, on Wednesday that the search “may be associated with the dangerous conspiracy movement called QAnon.”
The group in question, Let Us Worship, organizes worship rallies in cities across the United States, most notably in cities recently stricken by violent protests, or under extreme COVID-19 lockdowns banning Christians from attending church. Sean Feucht, the founder, told The Federalist he has never publicly or privately spoken about QAnon.
“We have literally nothing to do with Q,” he said, adding that Facebook’s warning label is “a straight-up lie.”
Feucht said he feels the social media giant’s censorship is targeted, following a Daily Beast hit piece on Let Us Worship for organizing a worship rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
“They do have an agenda,” he said. “They’re targeting the church.”
Feucht said they reported the misleading label, and it has since been taken down, but Facebook never issued an explanation, an apology, or an answer on what they plan to do to prevent it from happening in the future.
A spokesperson for Facebook told The Federalist the dangerous search label was a “mistake” and that “the bug impacted a large variety of stakeholders.”
When we first launched the Redirect Initiative for QAnon today there was a glitch that caused people to see information about this topic when they searched for unrelated terms. We’ve paused this Redirect while we fix the issue. https://t.co/YJb4E46BJf
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) October 21, 2020
Facebook announced in August they would be taking action to limit content from Facebook Groups, Pages, and Instagram accounts they deemed tied to “anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests,” like QAnon. On Oct. 21, they updated the policy, announcing that searches for terms related to QAnon on Facebook and Instagram would direct users to a link with information on the group from the Global Network on Extremism and Technology.
This latest incident comes just one week after Facebook publicly announced they would be censoring and limiting the distribution of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business interests. Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee demanded Facebook explain their censorship policies.
“Isn’t such a public intervention itself a reflection of Facebook’s assessment of a news report’s credibility?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley of Facebook’s actions. Hawley and other lawmakers seek to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, under which big tech companies operate and claim they are only platforms, not publishers.
Feucht said he supports reforming Section 230 and hopes to have this incident of censorship against Let Us Worship included in lawmakers’ investigations of Facebook and Twitter.
“This is a peaceful movement from across the political spectrum and they are suppressing it by linking us to Q,” he said.