Twitter says it's cracking down on conspiracy-theory group 'QAnon' and has already reportedly removed 7,000 accounts

  • Twitter will start cracking down this week on "so-called 'QAnon' activity" on the platform, the company said in a tweet Tuesday. 
  • Twitter said it would take a variety of actions, including suspending accounts that violate its "multi-account" policy, coordinate abuse against individuals, or try to evade previous suspensions.
  • It will also stop recommending "QAnon" accounts or showing "QAnon"-related content in trends as well as de-emphasizing them in searches and conversations.
  • Twitter has taken action against a number of bot networks and misinformation campaigns in recent months as pressure mounts on social media companies to address manipulative and harmful content.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Twitter will begin cracking down on activity related to "QAnon," a right-wing conspiracy group, the company announced in a tweet Tuesday.

"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," the platform said in a tweet. 

 

Twitter said those actions will include permanently suspending accounts that are "engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension," which it said it had seen more of recently.

Over the course of this week, the platform will also remove "QAnon" accounts from trends and recommendations and attempt to not highlight their tweets in searches or conversations. It will also block QAnon URLs from being shared on the platform. 

 

According to NBC News, which broke the story, around 7,000 accounts have been suspended and up to 150,000 are expected to be impacted by Twitter's new policy.

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that the company noticed an increase in targeted harassment, and it tracked the changing activity of "QAnon" accounts on and off Twitter and engaged with experts to adjust how rules are enforced.

Research earlier this year found that pro-Trump "QAnon" affiliated accounts were responsible for spreading the majority of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.

More recently, researchers found that conspiracy theories spread by "QAnon" accounts were being amplified by President Donald Trump and key supporters. 

At the same time, Twitter has been stepping up its enforcement of accounts that violate its policies against "platform manipulation" and "hateful conduct," both of which it has revised within the past year amid growing pressure on social media platforms to tackle misinformation.

Last month, Twitter said it identified and shut down three networks of more than 170,000 Chinese-backed accounts spreading propaganda for China, Russia, and Turkey. In April, the company took down 20,000 fake accounts connected to the governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras and Indonesia, calling them a "targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation," according to The Guardian. 

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