Twitter has decided to crack down on QAnon, the bizarre conspiracy theory that suggests US president Donald Trump is working to expose a cabal of deep-state Satanist paedophiles that secretly runs the world.
The avian network made its medium the message, as follows:
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
We will permanently suspend accounts Tweeting about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension — something we’ve seen more of in recent weeks.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
In addition, we will:— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
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
The company added that the Q-busting action will start this week and that it will "continue to review this activity across our service and update our rules and enforcement approach again if necessary."
The last tweet in the thread offered an unusually plain-spoken view of how Twitter sees its role.
As we work at scale to protect the public conversation in the face of evolving threats, we’ll continue to lead with transparency and offer more context on our efforts.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
The Register understands that Twitter is the first major social network to take action on QAnon, but of course also hosts much uncivil commentary including strident racism, hyper-partisan content, conspiracy theories and – unlike other social networks – happily hosts adult entertainers and their video content.
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However, none of those contentious uses of the network have been rated a domestic terrorism risk, an assessment the US FBI applied to QAnon in 2019.
Twitter has also arguably led the social media pack by refusing to take political advertising and fact-checking Donald Trump's Tweets.
But its action on QAnon may be too little, too late. Trump has previously shared Q content on his Twitter feed, and the Republican Party he leads has endorsed candidates that openly espouse QAnon theories. ®