An Update to Patreon’s Policies on QAnon

This is absolutely the right move. As stated, freedom of speech does not include the right to incite actions that would endanger others.

In the case of the QAnon conspiracy theory, there have been numerous recorded instances of real world violence, doxings, and other harms against others being committed in the name of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Additionally, in the U.S., the FBI has identified QAnon as a part of a group of “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists”.

So yes, freedom of speech ends when it causes real harm to society. Also, freedom of speech does not apply to private platforms like Patreon.

Many people are shocked to learn that the First Amendment free speech guarantee, along with all constitutional rights, only protects us against the government. So, if the government interferes with your freedom of speech, you can bring a First Amendment lawsuit to challenge that. And that’s true whether we’re talking about a federal government official or a state or local government official. But guess what? Facebook, Twitter, the other social media platforms are not the government. They are private sector entities, and therefore, they have no First Amendment obligation to protect your freedom of speech.

Which I noted in my first response:

Don’t get me wrong - I believe QAnon are idiots, but they have the right to be idiots. And I agree that Patreon have the right to ban them.

I’m still asking ANYONE to articulate an objective standard so we know what is acceptable and what is not.

If the actions of individuals can lead to the banning of groups or ideologies to ‘prevent genocide’, how do you distinguish between QAnon and ‘ Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius ’?

I have never said that Patreon must accept everyone; I’ve simply asked for an objective standard for banning someone. The discussions about free speech were philosophical and part of trying to determine what is, and what is not, acceptable, so that we know what we can, and cannot say.

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Hey Michael,
Yes, I think an objective standard would be useful… and I’m sure that’s quite the challenge.
I guess I can take a stab though.

In my opinion, the standard should be that if your content espouses ideas that either directly or implicitly cause harm to a group or person in society, then it should be reviewed. Along those same lines, if your content is associated with a group or cult that is known to incite violence, etc. then again, it should be reviewed.

I think a more fair process could also be implemented by which Patreon asks to speak with the creator, express their concerns to the creator, and make a determination if their Patreon can continue based on how they respond to the complaint, which may require some modifications to their content if they wish to remain on the platform.

Bottom line though, conspiracy theorists are dangerous to society. They have far outgrown the ridiculous but mostly harmless claims relating to chem trails and are delving into areas of thought that should be squelched immediately due to the fact that if more people believe in them it will have significantly negative ramifications on so many aspects of our lives.

As I asked above, are you able to define ‘harm’ in an objective way? Does it include hurt feelings? Disrespect?

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I certainly don’t think “hurt feelings” applies but I get your point. I think it is more like any content that would encourage violence, doxing, etc.

Of course, libel and slander could be in there, but that’s a super gray area left mostly to judges and juries.
I think I saw a post on Twitter recently about the Government Official in charge of the wall in Mexico being temporarily banned on the platform and his point was that there are muslim groups that threaten violence against jews that are not suspended. I think he made a fair point that a no tolerance policy would be good.

A quick search shows ANTIFA is using Patreon.

I’d like an explanation of that, please, @reyna

Thank you to everyone who has engaged in this conversation. We appreciate the passion, substance, and candor of the exchange.

In regards to the question around standards for what is permissible on Patreon we would direct creators back to our community and benefits guidelines, which can be found at Patreon.com/policy.

We use “guidelines” on Patreon versus “objective standards” as the basis for our policies because we don’t want to tell creators what to create or the types of content that would be most permissible for funding through the platform. Our guidelines are meant to inform creators of the types of behaviors and benefits that Patreon will not fund for the reasons that we specified up above.

We decided to take action against QAnon-dedicated creators because of both the threats of harm and actual harm that the conspiracy theory has generated, in addition to the other points mentioned above. When we are assessing potential and actual harms we typically are looking for real-world physical instances, but will also consider online threats, bullying, and harassment as well, especially if it is trending from online into the physical world. This distinction is in part why we felt it was important to still allow for creators who discuss the QAnon conspiracy theory from a news, analysis, or satire standpoint to remain on Patreon. We believe that this can generally be done in such a way that does not propagate the most harmful elements of the conspiracy theory.

While a quick search on Patreon can turn up a number of different named pages for creators, Antifa, or otherwise, a name is by no means violative on its own. QAnon conspiracy theory-dedicated creators as a whole were in violation of our Community Guidelines. As long as a creator follows those guidelines, they will have a home on Patreon.

This page still makes me LOL. You say “we have zero tolerance when it comes to…sexualized depiction of minors” but then say, two paragraphs later:

As a result, when reviewing these types of creations, the Trust and Safety team will take into consideration context including personal, historical or educational narrative. For example, survivor stories or fiction such as Game of Thrones or Lolita are allowed on Patreon.

Those two statements are in direct contradiction and provide no guidance at all. What is ‘zero tolerance’ if exceptions are permitted based on subjective judgment?

Edited to add - for GoT I’m referring to the books where, for example Sansa Stark is underage (not the HBO series where they made her older).

Also edited to add: US Law is different for text versus images/video. Text is generally protected by the 1st Amendment, even if there are minors involved; images and videos are not.

What’s this QAnon and GoT? I would Google it, but I feel it’s something stupid.

GoT == Game of Thrones

QAnon - A group which spouts conspiracy theories. The FBI have classified them as domestic terrorists.

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Confirmed. Both are stupid.

Going by what you say, please tell QAnon members to get professional help. You can even build a website that says - Get well soon.

Feel free to add or leave my username.


https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/16/5-facts-about-the-qanon-conspiracy-theories/

Why you need a website to tell you that? Jesus christ, Americans are stupid.

Research Methodology - https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/QAnon_Methodology_for_release.pdf

Youtube < Facebook. :joy_cat:


to watch someone devolve into madness and paranoia and there’s not a fucking thing you can do until they commit a crime.

Hey! That’s what I was going to say.

Solved it! too deep for providing for free. Join my Patreon, if you want. And cure your mild depression if you follow this crapshow regularly.


Hi! FBI agent! FYI, you cannot join. Bye! Sorry to crush your heart. :pray: