Amazon said Monday it was working to remove products promoting QAnon, a conspiracy group tied to the violent mob that attacked the Capitol last week. The move from the country’s largest online retailer comes after the chaotic rioting on Capitol Hill that left five people dead and shook America’s democracy to its core.
QAnon conspiracy theorists subscribe to a false belief that high-profile Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are ritually sacrificing children and that President Donald Trump is fighting to stop it. QAnon followers have allegedly committed real-world violent crimes, including murder, and the F.B.I. labeled it a potential domestic terror threat in 2019.
Amazon’s Marketplace offerings included T-shirts with the slogan “We Are Q,” baseball caps, self-published books, and even baby apparel with Trump’s face inside the letter Q.
Those products, all offered by Amazon’s third-party vendors, remained for sale online several days after the deadly riots in Washington, D.C.
On Monday, Amazon said vendors who attempt to continue to sell such products could be banned from its site, citing its terms of service, which prohibit products that “promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence toward any person or group.”
Amazon said the removal of all items could take a few days. As of Tuesday afternoon, merchandise promoting QAnon could still be found on the e-commerce platform.
When reached for comment, Amazon did not have a statement but referred NBC News to its guidelines for offensive and controversial materials.
E-commerce sites such as Etsy and eBay have also banned products related to QAnon. “At eBay, we have a strict policy against hate and discrimination to ensure our platform remains a safe, trusted and inclusive environment for our global community of buyers and sellers,” eBay told NBC News. “Any merchandise glorying violence or hate will be removed from our marketplace, this includes QAnon merchandise.”
Facebook and Twitter have also taken action to remove accounts and comments related to the conspiracy group that stir violence or hate.
Over the weekend, Amazon — along with Google and Apple — said it would ban conservative platform Parler from its cloud services, after Trump supporters used the social network to express hatred and threaten violence that culminated in Wednesday’s riots, the tech giants said.
Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot and killed last week in the riot, was an ardent supporter of Trump and a follower and promoter of many well-known radical conservative activists as well as leaders of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, according to her social media profiles. She was engaged on social media with QAnon accounts and used QAnon hashtags.
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