SAN FRANCISCO – Twitter on Monday said it had removed more than 70,000 accounts promoting QAnon conspiracy theories in recent days, as the company expanded its crackdown on content that could incite violence after banning General President Trump resigned last week.
Twitter, which implemented the suspension over the weekend, said it took action to block posts that “potentially lead to offline harm”. It added that many of the deleted users were already using multiple QAnon accounts, increasing the total number of accounts taken down.
“These accounts have engaged in large-scale sharing of QAnon-related harmful content and are primarily devoted to spreading this conspiracy theories across the service,” the company said in a statement. blog posts.
Social media companies rushed away from the violent crowd attack in Congressional building last week, which Mr. Trump inflicted in his social media posts and public comment. After the rage, Twitter and Facebook locked Mr. Trump’s account, before banning him from their services and cutting off the president’s microphone.
Other social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Reddit, have also moved to restrict Mr. Trump and malicious speeches that could inspire people to violence in recent days. Facebook and Twitter have since expanded their actions. On Monday, Facebook said it would begin removing any content that mentions “Stop stealing,” a rallying call for Trump supporters who believe the statement is false. that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump.
Twitter said it will also intensify the suppression of false and misinformation about the presidential election. Users who persistently violate a citizen’s integrity policy, a policy that prohibits users from spreading content that discourages voter participation or misinterprets the results of an election, will be permanently suspended. , Twitter said.
The actions of Facebook and Twitter have been praised by libertarians and others, but also questioned the strength of companies over online discourse.
The QAnon conspiracy theory has long worked for Mr. Trump. Its followers see Mr. Trump as a hero who is trying to destroy a global class of Satan pedophiles. A woman broke into the Capitol last week and was shot to death, Ashli Babbitt, is a devotee of QAnon.
While conspiracy theories have been ubiquitous online for years, social media companies have only moved to remove content related to it in recent months. Last August, Facebook started to establish policies banning QAnon groups calling for violence, before expanding the move in October by announcing it would remove any public groups, pages, or Instagram accounts. confirmed with QAnon.
In July, Twitter banned 7,000 QAnon accounts and blocked conspiracy-related topics from appearing in its trending topics. However, theories have repeatedly reappeared on Twitter and other social media platforms, leading to online harassment and physical violence.
The company says the deletion of tens of thousands of QAnon accounts, combined with regular bots and spam senders, has caused notable fluctuations in the follower counts of some Twitter users. ty said.
That leaves some users – such as former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a Florida congressman, Matt Gaetz – speculates that Twitter has sneakily severed them from followers because of their political beliefs.
After Twitter banned Mr. Trump from the platform, some of his supporters called for a rally outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Monday. City workers set up barricades and police were on duty to prevent any disruptive behavior. But their preparation in the end was unnecessary: The rally attracted only one attendee.