Twitter bans more than 7 000 QAnon conspiracy accounts

Twitter is cracking down on the QAnon conspiracy group with all its might. The social media giant announced on Wednesday that more than 7 000 accounts were banned.

Twitter said it would not be tolerating the far-right wing conspiracy theory movement and took actions to prevent the group’s hashtags from trending on the platform.

As reported by NBC News, Twitter also limited the reach of a further 150 000 accounts, give or take a few. Twitter confirmed that going forward, it will also block QAnon related links from being shared.

QAnon in violation of Twitter policy

QAnon accounts will longer be promoted in search and conversation, either. Twitter said in a statement on 21 July that QAnon accounts will be “permanently suspended”.

“We will permanently suspend accounts Tweeting about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims; or are attempting to evade a previous suspension — something we’ve seen more of in recent weeks”.

QAnon groups have been increasing their online activity ahead of the 2020 election in the United States; Facebook struggling since to clear a moderation backlog of QAnon-related reports and violations.

Why is Twitter taking these actions? A spokesperson told The Verge that they believe “QAnon supporters have continued and in some cases increased harassment of Twitter users in recent weeks”.

Facebook took action too

Back in May, Facebook removed but a fraction of the QAnon presence — five pages, six groups and 20 profiles. To avoid the ban, many QAnon groups changed their names by replacing the “Q” with “17”.

At the time, the Guardian reported that “more than just another internet conspiracy theory, QAnon is a movement of people who interpret as a kind of gospel the online message of an anonymous figure named Q.

“Within the constructed reality of QAnon, Donald Trump is secretly waging a patriotic crusade against these ‘deep state’ child abusers, and a ‘Great Awakening’ that will reveal the truth is on the horizon”.

Reddit, however, has been ahead of the game, and have banned QAnon from its platform back in 2018.

‘Q’ responded

The mysterious Q responded to the earlier Facebook bans by posting “Information Warfare” on 8kun. The website was previously called 8chan before going offline in August 2019 and relaunching in November 2019.

Two days later, Q shared a post that “included a collage of dozens of news headlines about the takedowns”. It was speculated that Facebook was part of a “coordinated media roll-out designed to instil fear” in QANon believers.

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