January 12, 2021
Twitter suspends 70,000 QAnon accounts in massive purge following deadly Capitol siege, Trump ban
Twitter says it suspended more than 70,000 accounts sharing QAnon content since Friday following the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol.
It also limited accounts that engaged with them and has deployed technology to surface "potentially harmful tweets for urgent human review."
The moves are part of an urgent and growing crackdown by the nation's leading social media companies to prevent further violence.
The drive to prevent a repeat of last week's attack drove Twitter's decision to permanently suspend President Donald Trump's account after years in which Trump tested the boundaries of what he could say, violating the company's rules against election misinformation, glorifying violence and falsehoods about COVID-19.
"Since Friday, more than 70,000 accounts have been suspended as a result of our efforts, with many instances of a single individual operating numerous accounts," Twitter said in a blog post. "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."
On the political left, the wave of takedowns wiping out accounts and shrinking follower counts earned praise. But conservatives and the president's allies are accusing Twitter and other social media companies of censorship.
The spread of QAnon extremism into the mainstream on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accelerated in recent months.
Observers say the 2016 presidential election spurred the rise of conspiracy theories once confined to the fringes. Swept up in the culture wars over immigration and race, rattled by economic upheaval and desperate for companionship in an age of social isolation, an untold number of Americans began succumbing to radicalization in the form of fringe or extremist ideologies rooted in baseless conspiracy theories.
QAnon promoted and capitalized on Trump's presidency, and received attention from him. With influential figures including the president using their social media megaphones to amplify the extremist ideology, QAnon reached millions.
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