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Twitter removes, bans and suspends thousands of accounts associated with QAnon conspiracy theory group

QAnon T shirt (Marc Nozell/WikiCommons)

Two months ago, Twitter began fact-checking President Donald Trump’s tweets. Now, it’s removing and suspending accounts associated with QAnon, a conspiracy theory group.

The social network Tuesday night announced via tweets on its Twitter Safety account that actions were being taken against “so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”

Twitter took different actions against accounts associated with QAnon for various reasons, including violations of its rules against glorifying violence.

“We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” the Twitter Safety account tweeted Tuesday.

The group follows an online user named “Q,” whom The Guardian reported in 2018 purports to be a government insider with top security clearance. QAnon followers have spread conspiracy theories about a “deep state” attempting to combat Trump and a large child sex trafficking ring within the government.

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About 7,000 accounts had been recently removed for violating the platform’s rules about spam, platform manipulation or ban evasion, as reported initially by NBC News. Eventually, 150,000 accounts affiliated with QAnon will be impacted with less visibility for other Twitter users.

Twitter’s action against QAnon accounts included many being banned for problems associated with misinformation and “swarming” harassment from coordinated and targeted campaigns against people, NBC News reported, citing a Twitter spokesperson who asked to not give their name because of harassment concerns.

The spokesperson told NBC News the service was acting because of concerns about increased harm “associated with the conspiracy theory.”

Actions to be rolled out this week by Twitter will include no longer highlighting QAnon activity or including related content in its trends and recommendations. Twitter said it will also block web addresses associated with the group from being shared on the service.

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© 2020 USA Today