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Twitter cracks down on QAnon accounts and related content

Twitter says it’s taking strong action against content on its platform linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory as part of broader, ongoing efforts to deal with misinformation and harassment on its service.

“We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service,” Twitter said in a message posted on Tuesday, July 21.

We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020

A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News that in the last few weeks it has removed 7,000 QAnon accounts for violating rules on targeted harassment. The company said it will also end the practice of recommending accounts and content connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory, and prevent related content from appearing in trends and search, action that Twitter says will impact around 150,000 accounts on its service.

Twitter stated that it 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 measures will be rolled out this week, Twitter said, adding that it will “continue to review this activity across our service and update our rules and enforcement approach again if necessary. As we work at scale to protect the public conversation in the face of evolving threats, we’ll continue to lead with transparency and offer more context on our efforts.”

QAnon formed following online posts in 2017 by the mysterious “Q,” a person claiming to be a U.S. government insider with top security clearance. It’s since morphed into an online movement whose followers push an assortment of conspiracy theories, its central one being that Donald Trump is secretly fighting a battle against a number of rival political, business, and military leaders, as well as high-profile celebrities (aka the deep state), who are accused of being engaged in a range of nefarious activities.

The action against QAnon follows a similar move by Facebook earlier this year, though recent reports have suggested that QAnon groups on the social networking site are continuing to increase in number.

Whether Twitter will have more success in dealing with QAnon content on its site remains to be seen.

Digital Trends has reached out to Twitter for more information on its measures and we will update this post when we hear back.

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