On Wednesday, Reddit banned r/GreatAwakening for inciting violence, doxxing, and harassment. At the time of its removal, the designated subreddit for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory had over 70,000 subscribers.
If you’ve somehow managed to remain blissfully unaware, the QAnon conspiracy is the latest bout of weaponized insanity to emerge from the depths of internet. Adherents believe that a top-level government insider has been anonymously communicating with the American public over 4chan and 8chan since October. According to the anonymous poster, who calls themselves “Q,” Donald Trump is fighting a super-secret war against an army of pedophiles, globalists, and ISIS-loving cannibals who have embedded themselves in the U.S. government, Hollywood, and, of course, the Democratic party.
For nearly a year, Q has relayed this absolutely absurd tale of government corruption through a series of cryptic haiku-like posts called “breadcrumbs,” which are meant to be analyzed and interpreted by believers en masse in order to derive Q’s true message.
Though the conspiracy got its roots on shadier forums like 4chan and 8chan, the bulk of breadcrumb translation and community organizing has taken place on more easily accessible spaces like r/GreatAwakening, which was created in March after the group’s first subreddit, r/CBTS_stream, was also banned for violating Reddit’s content policy.
“As of September 12, r/greatawakening has been banned due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy,” a spokesperson for Reddit told Motherboard in an email. “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.”
A similarly named subreddit, r/The_GreatAwakening, was also taken down Wednesday, ostensibly for “inciting harassment,” but also likely because it existed as an unofficial backup or alternative for subscribers to r/GreatAwakening.
A top comment on the Voat—a Reddit alternative site popular with the alt-right and those who use platforms like Gab—community for the conspiracy theory interpreted the Reddit ban as just another sign of of Q’s legitimacy.
“Just another Q proof,” wrote Voat user gnorantoptimist. “Unlike the other banned subs, greatawakening had literally no racist or offensive content. They are scared and it's obvious.”