February 27, 2021

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Twitter Bans 70,000+ Accounts That Spread QAnon Conspiracy Theories

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<div data-aria-label="Video" data-provider="vidible" data-published="2021-01-12T04:55:10+00:00" data-videovertical="" class="vdb_player vdb_5cf69bc3d21f1a2bfeddcb6c55d111bb1146fb12104915c6 vidible-b-page" data-placeholder="//img.vidible.tv/prod/2021-01/09/5ff967570da6381b3307bf5b/5ff96766f7a4f60001300929_1920x1080_FES_v1.jpg?w=1440&h=900&q=60"></div><div class="content-list-component text"><p>Twitter said Monday that it had banned more than 70,000 accounts that mainly promote content affiliated with QAnon, the growing conspiracy theory movement that helped inflame <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-supporters-storm-us-capitol_n_5ff60cc7c5b6ef6b1582ac9c">the violent attack on the US Capitol</a> last week.</p><p>The company said it <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2021/protecting--the-conversation-following-the-riots-in-washington--.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">began removing accounts en masse</a> on Friday after determining such users had the potential to post missives that could “lead to offline harm.” The move followed the riot in the halls of Congress, which left at least five people dead — four insurrectionists and a Capitol Police officer.</p><p>“Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon,” Twitter said. “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.”</p><p>Twitter said many of those banned had multiple accounts, which is partially responsible for the large number of banned accounts. </p><p>The company also said it would work with law enforcement in advance of President-elect <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/news/joe-biden/">Joe Biden’s</a> inauguration next week.</p><p>“Ahead of the inauguration, we’ll continue to monitor the situation, keep open lines of communication with law enforcement, and keep the public informed of additional enforcement actions,” it said.</p><p>QAnon followers believe an anonymous figure named “Q” works deep inside the Trump administration alongside the president to take down an alleged cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles throughout the government and in liberal circles. The theories are completely baseless, but they have attracted high-level support. Newly elected Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has expressed support for the movement.</p><p>Twitter’s move is the latest by Silicon Valley giants to clamp down on those alleged to have contributed to the insurrection at the US Capitol last week. President Donald Trump has been <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-twitter-ban_n_5ff733bbc5b61a92a8c08b8c">banned from Twitter permanently</a> after sharing messaging meant to inflame his supporters to attack the Capitol, and other companies, including <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/technology/facebook-trump-ban.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a> and Snapchat, followed suit with suspensions until at least the end of Trump’s term. </p><p>“We made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things,” Twitter said at the time of its decision. “We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”</p><p>Twitter also addressed claims made by many prominent conservatives this week who lambasted the company for its declining follower numbers. Other notable figures were banned, including former national security adviser <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/twitter-bans-michael-flynn-sidney-powell-qanon-account-purge-n1253550" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Michael Flynn and Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell</a>.</p></div><div class="content-list-component embed-asset"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Started the day at 892k. <br><br>Currently 856k and dropping. <a href="https://t.co/Qde6TY4Bwl" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">https://t.co/Qde6TY4Bwl</a></p>— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) <a href="https://twitter.com/mattgaetz/status/1347784574869397504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">January 9, 2021</a></blockquote></div><div class="content-list-component text"><p>“Our updated enforcement on QAnon content on Twitter, along with routine spam challenges, has resulted in changes in follower count for some people’s Twitter accounts,” Twitter said. “In some cases, these actions may have resulted in follower count changes in the thousands.”</p><p><strong><em>Never miss a thing. </em></strong><a href="https://subscribe.huffpost.com/NewsLetter/preference/Subscribe/?list=au-daily-brief&src=editorial" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><strong><em>Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter</em></strong></a><strong><em> for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.</em></strong></p></div><!-- start relEntries --><div class="related-entries related-entries--list yr-related-entries"><h3 class="related-entries__head">Related...</h3><ul class="related-entries__list"><li class="related-entries__list__item yr-related-entry"><a class="related-entries__title entry__link--omit yr-card-headline" href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/michael-mccormack-capitol-riot-blm_au_5ffcd3cfc5b6567198883ffb?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles" aria-label="Michael McCormack Stands By His Comparison Of US Capitol Riots To BLM Protests"> Michael McCormack Stands By His Comparison Of US Capitol Riots To BLM Protests </a></li><li class="related-entries__list__item yr-related-entry"><a class="related-entries__title entry__link--omit yr-card-headline" href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/state-capitols-riots-trump-election-2020_au_5ffd13a3c5b63642b6fe94ad?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles" aria-label="US State Capitals Brace For Unrest As Feds Warn Of Possible Violence"> US State Capitals Brace For Unrest As Feds Warn Of Possible Violence </a></li><li class="related-entries__list__item yr-related-entry"><a class="related-entries__title entry__link--omit yr-card-headline" href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/congressman-at-least-2-capitol-police-suspended-complicity-insurrection_au_5ffd10aac5b63642b6fe931c?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles" aria-label="Congressman Says At Least 2 Capitol Police Officers Suspended Over Complicity"> Congressman Says At Least 2 Capitol Police Officers Suspended Over Complicity </a></li><li class="related-entries__list__item yr-related-entry"><a class="related-entries__title entry__link--omit yr-card-headline" href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/congress-can-expel-members-who-supported-riot_au_5ffd0c50c5b66f3f7960a781?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles" aria-label="Congress Can Expel Members Who Supported Riot"> Congress Can Expel Members Who Supported Riot </a></li><li class="related-entries__list__item yr-related-entry"><a class="related-entries__title entry__link--omit yr-card-headline" href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/matt-gaetz-mocked-twitter_au_5ffd0b43c5b66f3f7960a5a9?ncid=other_huffpostre_pqylmel2bk8&utm_campaign=related_articles" aria-label="Rep. 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Twitter said Monday that it had banned more than 70,000 accounts that mainly promote content affiliated with QAnon, the growing conspiracy theory movement that helped inflame the violent attack on the US Capitol last week.

The company said it began removing accounts en masse on Friday after determining such users had the potential to post missives that could “lead to offline harm.” The move followed the riot in the halls of Congress, which left at least five people dead — four insurrectionists and a Capitol Police officer.

“Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon,” Twitter said. “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.”

Twitter said many of those banned had multiple accounts, which is partially responsible for the large number of banned accounts. 

The company also said it would work with law enforcement in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

“Ahead of the inauguration, we’ll continue to monitor the situation, keep open lines of communication with law enforcement, and keep the public informed of additional enforcement actions,” it said.

QAnon followers believe an anonymous figure named “Q” works deep inside the Trump administration alongside the president to take down an alleged cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles throughout the government and in liberal circles. The theories are completely baseless, but they have attracted high-level support. Newly elected Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has expressed support for the movement.

Twitter’s move is the latest by Silicon Valley giants to clamp down on those alleged to have contributed to the insurrection at the US Capitol last week. President Donald Trump has been banned from Twitter permanently after sharing messaging meant to inflame his supporters to attack the Capitol, and other companies, including Facebook and Snapchat, followed suit with suspensions until at least the end of Trump’s term. 

“We made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things,” Twitter said at the time of its decision. “We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”

Twitter also addressed claims made by many prominent conservatives this week who lambasted the company for its declining follower numbers. Other notable figures were banned, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell.

“Our updated enforcement on QAnon content on Twitter, along with routine spam challenges, has resulted in changes in follower count for some people’s Twitter accounts,” Twitter said. “In some cases, these actions may have resulted in follower count changes in the thousands.”

Never miss a thing. Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.

Source: Huffington Post Australia Athena2 https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/twitter-bans-qanon-accounts_au_5ffd29b6c5b66f3f7960bb99

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