Twitter Removes Over 70,000 QAnon Accounts in Post-Capitol Riot Purge

Twitter said that it removed more than 70,000 accounts that promoted the QAnon conspiracy following last week’s deadly Capitol riot, The New York Times reports.

Twitter, which already banned President Donald Trump, said it acted in response to “the potential to lead to offline harm.”

The company said that many of the users operated multiple accounts, which increased the number affected.

“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," the social network said in a blog post.

Twitter said it would also crack down on the spread of misinformation and would ban users who repeatedly post false information about the election.

Conservatives complain of deleted followers:

Numerous conservatives like Rep. Matt Gaetz, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have complained that they lost tens of thousands of followers amid the purge.

Some alleged that they were targeted for their political beliefs while critics noted that they had built up followings of conspiracy theorists.

Some Trump supporters planned a protest outside of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters but only one person showed up.

Questions raised over social networks:

While many have praised the social network for its delayed crackdown on disinformation, others raised questions about the power of social media networks.

“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now,” said ACLU lawyer Kate Ruane. “But it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the ban was “problematic.”

A spokesman said that social media networks “bear great responsibility for political communication not being poisoned by hatred, by lies and by incitement to violence.” Freedom of expressed can be restricted in certain cases but “according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms.”


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