Twitter to suspend accounts tweeting about QAnon conspiracy theory

Twitter

Twitter has said it would effectively ban accounts that violate its policies while tweeting about QAnon, a fringe group that claims “deep-state” traitors are plotting against President Trump.

KEY POINTS:

  • Twitter has announced it will permanently ban users that violate policy relating to the wild QAnon conspiracy theory
  • The move will likely further alienate a portion of Twitters existing users and reinforce equally wild conspiracy theories about bias on the platform

Twitter, which announced the key change via its @TwitterSafety account on the platform, said it would not serve content from accounts associated with QAnon in trends and recommendations, and would block web addresses associated with the group from being shared across the platform. The new bans, which are due to be rolled out later this week are expected to impact some 150,000 accounts. The company said that more than 7,000 accounts had already been removed in the last several weeks for violating the company’s rules against spam and manipulation.

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The permanent bans will impact accounts “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,” Twitter said.

DEEP STATE

In digital conspiracy theories, the terms “deep-state” and related are used to refer to a combination of elites from the intelligence, political, business and entertainment fields, with QAnon’s theories claiming that the “deep-state” is at a secretive war with patriots and the Trump administration.

QAnon has also claimed that Democratic Party members are behind international crime rings. The group’s content has spread widely on mainstream social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, China’s TikTok and Google’s YouTube. Earlier this year, Facebook removed a network of fake accounts linked to QAnon.

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QAnon theories are ridiculed by the mainstream of both political parties in the US, with many conservative and GOP-leaning commentators mocking the wild theories about elaborate plots, which first appeared on the 4chan and 8chan forums.

Last year, the FBI issued a warning about “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” and designated QAnon as a potential domestic extremist threat.

We reached out to Twitter today regarding any potential action they might take against those circulating wild conspiracy theories relating to Brexit. As of publishing Twitter had not responded.

Via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Rama Venkat, Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco. Editing by Leslie Adler.

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