Twitter upped the ante in its ongoing battle to purge QAnon and election fraud conspiracists from its platform, announcing a sweeping ban of 70,000 accounts tied to the deranged, pro-Trump extremists group.
In an update posted on its company blog on Monday, Twitter explained what additional steps it was taking to prevent the site from being a vector to spread dangerous disinformation in the wake of the unprecedented assault on the Capitol last week. Its announcement comes almost simultaneously with a move by Facebook to remove all “Stop the Steal” content from its platform, and crack down on any further incitement of violence by the pro-Trump groups that executed the attack on Congress.
We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon.
Many of the individuals impacted by this updated enforcement action held multiple accounts, driving up the total number of accounts impacted. 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. 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.
Twitter also said it was escalating enforcement of its civic integrity policy, which bans calls for violence, including more human review of potential harmful Tweets. And it removed some functionality for posts that violate the policy, preventing flagged Tweets from being replied to, like, or retweeted. However, quote tweeting will still remain turned on.
This is far from the first time Twitter has tried to deal with rampant, extremist far-right misinformation spreading on its site. Last week, the social media platform banned former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump legal advocate Sidney Powell, both of whom have gone deep into QAnon and election fraud conspiracy theories and suggested Trump impose martial law to overturn the 2020 election. And back in July, Twitter banned a much smaller tranche of QAnon accounts — 7,000 in all — over the potential for “off-line harm.”
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