Former national security advisor Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump, and pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell were blocked on Twitter as part of a purge of QAnon accounts following the U.S. uprising. Capitol by a crowd of Trump backers who are abusive.
QAnon is a disproved and discredited theory of far-right conspiracy alleging that a cabal of pedophiles adoring Satan is running a global ring of child sex trafficking and conspiracy against US President Donald Trump, who is fighting the cabal.
The wide-ranging, entirely baseless hypothesis also argues that President Trump is fighting a covert war in government, industry, and the media against elite Satan-worshipping pedophiles and this battle will lead to a day of reckoning where influential individuals will be arrested and executed, such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Since Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, social media firms have been under increased pressure to clamp down on hate speech.
In the days leading to a Washington, D.C., rally for Trump, thousands of QAnon social media pages hyped up on January 6, expressing hope that the victory of President-elect Joe Biden will be reversed.
As part of its attempts to crack down on disinformation and calls for abuse, the permanent bans are among the highest-profile that the organization has implemented.
As part of efforts to reverse the presidential election outcome, Flynn and Powell both met with Trump at the White House in recent weeks. In the QAnon party, they are all high-profile personalities, and last year Flynn also took an “oath” to the conspiracy theory.
A statement that Twitter released on Friday, January 8, read;
We will permanently suspend accounts that are exclusively devoted to sharing QAnon content, given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this form of activity in the coming days.
In accordance with our Organized Harmful Activity strategy, the accounts have been suspended.
We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content.
The account of Ron Watkins, the admin of the 8kun website, which was formerly called 8chan and hosts posts from Q, the fake digital “prophet” at the root of the conspiracy theory of QAnon, was also deleted from Twitter.
After white nationalists used the platform to post manifestos prior to committing mass murder, including a terror attack at a mall in El Paso, Texas, which killed 17 in 2019, 8chan changed its name last summer.
In recent weeks, Watkins, who lives in Japan and Powell, have been pushing false statements about Dominion Voting Systems and the role of the corporation in the U.S. elections, as well as threatening private citizens with false claims of election fraud.
On Friday, Powell was sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion Voting Systems.
This comes after President Donald Trump’s account was indefinitely suspended by the social media site after the unrest in the Capitol building. Twitter said late on Friday night that “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” it was blocking Trump’s account.
Twitter, which has defied calls to moderate its platform for years, has recently taken a stronger stand against theories of conspiracy linked to violence, most prominently the QAnon movement.
In July, Twitter suspended 7,000 accounts for dabbling in QAnon and reduced several others.
The company also designated the QAnon movement as a concerted negative operation, meaning that it was then restricted from the search functions of the website and the feature “Trending Topics”.