Twitter on Tuesday suspended thousands of accounts known for pushing QAnon-related content and announced several other measures to limit the spread of the right-wing conspiracy theory.
“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 Tuesday. “In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”
The “further action” includes keeping QAnon content out of Twitter’s trends, recommendations, and search function. URLs associated with QAnon content will be blocked too. Accounts attempting to evade previous bans and users violating Twitter’s multi-account policy will also be targeted in the crackdown.
For the blissfully unaware, the QAnon conspiracy theory centers on the belief that an anonymous high-ranking administration official, code named Q, is dropping hints online about President Trump’s secret battle to take down a global cabal of Democrat-aligned child predators. While the whole thing began online, last year the FBI warned about about QAnon specifically “driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” Signs and shirts invoking Q have became a mainstay at pre-pandemic Trump rallies and the Republican Party has nominated unapologetic believers this primary season.
Twitter’s move against QAnon comes a week after model Chrissy Teigen drew attention to the ongoing harassment she’s endured from adherents. Last week, she tweeted that she’s blocked over 1 million people due to the abuse. On Tuesday, she responded to a critic who called Twitter’s crackdown a “communist” purge of dissenting opinions. “It is not an ‘opinion’ to call people pedophiles who rape and eat children,” she tweeted, referring to some of the accusations regularly lobbed at her.
A Twitter spokesperson told the Washington Post that the action against QAnon accounts was not directly related to Teigen’s public complaints, but to a growing trend of the conspiracy theory’s believers coordinating attacks and harassment in an act known as “swarming.”
In the past several weeks, Twitter has suspended around 7,000 accounts as a part of its efforts against QAnon. Another 150,000 accounts are expected to be caught up in the crackdown.