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Twitter bans thousands of QAnon accounts

Twitter said it wants to prevent "offline harm."
Karissa Bell, @karissabe
July 21, 2020
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Twitter logo is seen through the broken glass in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on February 28, 2020. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is banning thousands of accounts associated with QAnon and taking aggressive new steps to limit the spread of the conspiracy theory on its platform. The company has already banned 7,000 accounts associated with conspiracy theory, and has blocked about 150,000 more from appearing in its recommendations, according to NBC News.

The company said its actions were in line with its policies barring “behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” and that proponents of the conspiracy theory often participate in harassment campaigns and break other rules.

“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,” the company wrote in a statement. 

Twitter also said it would take steps to limit the reach of QAnon-related content throughout its service. The company will block accounts and content associated with conspiracy theory from trends and recommendations and will “work to ensure we’re not highlighting this activity in search and conversations.” Twitter will also prevent users from sharing URLs linked to QAnon, though Twitter didn’t elaborate on which sites or forums might be impacted. 

Twitter’s actions are, notably, much more aggressive than Facebook’s stance toward QAnon. Though Facebook banned a small subset of QAnon accounts this year for breaking its rules around coordinated inauthentic behavior, proponents of the conspiracy theory remain quite active on Facebook and Instagram. The company also continues to surface groups, pages and accounts associated with the conspiracy theory in its recommendations

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