Twitter has permanently banned over 70,000 accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. The platform made this massive purge due to the chaotic protests in Washington, D.C.
After a mob of pro-Trump protestors stormed Capitol Hill, Twitter decided to remove thousands of accounts that had ties to QAnon. The QAnon conspiracy theory became popular among some Trump supporters, and claims that Trump is battling against a dangerous “deep state” within the US government.
In an update on the Twitter Blog, the platform announced that it banned accounts “that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content.” According to Twitter, this is to help combat the spread of misinformation, as well as to lower the potential for violence. It acknowledged that online behavior “has the potential to lead to offline harm.”
Twitter then went on to describe its efforts in more detail, stating:
More than 70,000 accounts have been suspended as a result of our efforts, with many instances of a single individual operating numerous accounts. These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service.
In addition to banning a wave of accounts, Twitter is also limiting the visibility of accounts that post content associated with QAnon. These accounts “will continue to be subject to limited visibility across search, replies, and on timelines and are prohibited from being recommended to others by Twitter. ”
In October 2020, Facebook also banned all content related to QAnon, citing mainly the same reasons that Twitter outlined. Twitter removed a small number of QAnon accounts in July 2020, but this most recent purge has proven to be much more widespread.
Facebook Is Banning QAnon
Facebook is taking down all QAnon-related groups, pages, and accounts, whether they incite violence or not.
Other Steps Twitter Is Taking
Twitter has also taken measures to block “violative keywords” from appearing on its Search and Trends page. The platform decides whether or not to ban certain keywords based on the Twitter Rules.
And as for any Tweets that have been labeled for violating the platform’s civic integrity policy, Twitter is preventing them from being replied to, Liked, or Retweeted. However, this kind of content can still be Quote Tweeted.
Twitter’s Purge Continues
Shortly after the riots at Capitol Hill, Twitter permanently banned President Trump from the platform. Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitch have since banned Trump indefinitely.
Trump may have been able to relocate his online presence to Parler, a free speech social network, but now that this network has been taken down due to lack of moderation, he has nowhere else to turn.
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