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Twitter Lays the Hammer Down on QAnon

Bans 7K accounts, places restrictions on another 150K
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2020 2:15 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2020 4:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – Twitter is banning 7,000 QAnon accounts and limiting another 150,000, the social media service announced Tuesday. "These accounts are engaging in behavior that is designed to further the spread of content that has resulted in clear and well-documented informational, physical, societal and psychological offline harm," a rep says in a statement. "We have been monitoring the situation closely and determined that additional action is now required pursuant to the Twitter rules against our policies on spam and platform manipulation as well as abusive behavior." QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy theory involving the belief that President Trump is secretly battling a Satan-worshiping, child-murdering "deep state" cabal; it arose out of "Pizzagate," the conspiracy theory involving a supposed pedophilia ring Hillary Clinton was accused of running out of a pizza shop, NBC News reports.

Those who believe QAnon, named for the anonymous "Q" who posts online messages about the conspiracy theory, are known for harassing perceived enemies, including Trump's political opponents. They've shown up at events with "Q" signs, engaged in real-life violence, and were named a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI last year. Twitter says 7,000 accounts associated with QAnon were recently removed and banned for violating the company's rules regarding harassment, and that it will no longer allow URLs associated with QAnon to be shared on the platform. It will also no longer recommend or highlight accounts linked to QAnon in search results or trending topics. Those actions will affect about 150,000 accounts. Reddit issued a blanket ban on QAnon in 2018. "Twitter is late out the gate," tweeted one expert in response to the news, but "Facebook and YouTube aren’t even in the race." (Read more QAnon stories.)

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