Twitter has announced that it is banning thousands of QAnon-related accounts and will begin enforcing other actions against QAnon activity in order to disrupt “behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm.” The move is both broad and sweeping in its scope and was announced by Twitter late last night.
QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy theory movement that grew from the Pizzagate scandal years ago. The central tenet of QAnon theorists revolves around the belief that Donald Trump is fighting a secret war against the deep state. As NBC News points out, the FBI has designated QAnon as “a potential domestic terrorist threat” because the movement’s online activities have translated to real-world harm, including attempted kidnappings, murder, harassment, and armed standoffs.
In addition, we will:
1⃣ No longer serve content and accounts associated with QAnon in Trends and recommendations
2⃣ Work to ensure we’re not highlighting this activity in search and conversations
3⃣ Block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on Twitter
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
The fact that QAnon activity “has the potential to lead to offline harm” is one of the reasons Twitter has announced its ban. In a series of tweets, the company announced it will no longer serve QAnon content and accounts in Trends and recommendations and block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on the platform. It will also ban “swarming” practices popular with QAnon theorists. Swarming refers to coordinated online harassment campaigns QAnon theorists perpetrate against people they claim are tied to the deep state.
A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News that its ban will affect around 150,000 accounts and that it has already disabled 7,000 QAnon accounts in the last few weeks.