The company states that these changes reduced the number of views borderline content received from referrals by more than 70 percent, although that number cannot be independently verified. YouTube also says that among a number of Pro-QAnon channels, referral views fell more than 80 percent after the 2019 policy change.
Social media platforms have been scrutinized for their policy decisions over the past few weeks as Democrats accuse them of doing too little to stop the spread of right-wing misinformation and Republicans, including Mr Trump, use them as a censored threat to the Denote freedom of expression.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, has largely stayed out of the political struggle so far, despite the platform's massive popularity – users watch more than a billion hours of YouTube videos every day – and the abundance of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the service. The managing director, Susan Wojcicki, unlike Jack Dorsey from Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, was not personally attacked by Mr. Trump or had to testify in front of Congress.
Vanita Gupta, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of civil rights groups, praised YouTube's move to crack down on QAnon content.
"We commend YouTube for banning this harmful and hateful content aimed at people with conspiracy theories used to justify violence offline, particularly through efforts like QAnon," said Ms. Gupta. "This online content can lead to real world violence and encourage hatred that harms entire communities."
Mr Rothschild, the QAnon researcher, predicted that QAnon believers bumped by YouTube would find ways to distribute their videos across smaller platforms. He also warned that the movement's supporters are known to dodge platform bans and that YouTube must remain vigilant to prevent them from restarting their channels and trying again.
"YouTube, which bans Q videos and suspends Q promoters, is a good move," he said, "but it won't be the end of Q. Nothing has happened yet."