Twitter says it’s cracking down on QAnon conspiracy theory

Technology

FILE – This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app icon on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Twitter said Tuesday, July 21, 2020 it would crack down on accounts and content related to QAnon, the far-right U.S. conspiracy theory popular among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump. The measures include banning accounts associated with QAnon content, as well as blocking URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform. Twitter also said that it would stop highlighting and recommending tweets associated with QAnon. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HONG KONG (AP) — Twitter says it is cracking down on accounts and content related to QAnon, the far-right U.S. conspiracy theory popular among supporters of President Donald Trump.

The measures include banning accounts associated with QAnon content, as well as blocking URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform. Twitter also said that it would stop highlighting and recommending tweets associated with QAnon.

“We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” the company said in a tweet late Tuesday.

Accounts that are “engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension” will be suspended permanently, Twitter said.

Over 7,000 accounts have been removed over the last few weeks for such violations, the company said in a statement. It also expects over 150,000 accounts globally to have reduced visibility due to these measures.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the baseless belief that Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. For more than two years, followers have pored over tangled clues purportedly posted online by a high-ranking government official known only as “Q.”

The conspiracy theory emerged in a dark corner of the internet but has been creeping into the mainstream political arena. Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts and its followers flock to his rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans.

Twitter’s move follows in the footsteps of Facebook, which in May also removed several groups, accounts and pages against QAnon.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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