- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reddit has quashed online communities devoted to “QAnon,” a fringe conspiracy theory that alleges the existence of a “deep state” secretly plotting against President Trump.

Reddit’s largest QAnon community — the “r/greatawakening” forum, or subreddit — was among several similarly themed message boards purged Wednesday from the nation’s fifth most visited website.

“As of September 12, /r/greatawakening has been banned due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy,” a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement. “We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites violence, disseminates personal information or harasses will get users and communities banned from Reddit.”

The subreddit boasted over 70,000 subscribers and generated thousands of daily comments prior to being banned, making it the site’s busiest QAnon community in the wake of its predecessor, r/CBTS_stream, being similarly removed in March for “inciting violence.”

Originated on the anonymous 4chan message boards late last year, the broad and convoluted conspiracy theory centers around claims of a “deep state” coup targeting Mr. Trump and his supporters, as evidenced by internet posts attributed to a government insider or insiders using the pseudonym “Q.”

The theory gained mainstream attention this summer when people attending Mr. Trump’s televised rallies were spotted with T-shirts and signs referencing “Q,” and last month the president posed for a picture in the oval office with a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist, media personality Michael Lebron, better known as “Lionel.”

In all Reddit removed at least 19 forums focused on QAnon this week, including r/the_greatawakening, a backup community with about 3,600 subscribers, as well as r/BiblicalQ and r/Quincels, NBC News reported.

Reddit did not immediately return a message inquiring about the specific violations that prompted the latest wave of removals. The site is currently ranked fifth in the nation and 18th globally in terms of visitors, according to Alexa, the Amazon-owned web analytics service.

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