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HomeTechTwitter suspends 70,000 QAnon accounts in wake of US Capitol riots

Twitter suspends 70,000 QAnon accounts in wake of US Capitol riots

Twitter suspends 70,000 QAnon accounts in wake of US Capitol riots
The Twitter logo shown on a smartphone screen
Twitter has taken action against accounts sharing QAnon content (Credits: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/REX)

Twitter has announced it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts linked to QAnon since Friday.

The social media company took the action following last week’s violence in Washington when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

‘Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon,’ Twitter said in a blog late on Monday.

‘These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service,’ the company said.

QAnon backers have pushed conspiracies on social media that include the baseless claim that Trump secretly is fighting a cabal of child-sex predators, among them prominent Democrats, figures in Hollywood and ‘deep state’ allies.

Twitter had said on Friday it would permanently suspend accounts pushing QAnon content, banning prominent right-wing boosters of its conspiracy theories.

What is QAnon and when did it start?

A QAnon supporter waves a flag at a protest
The movement is thought to have hundreds of thousands of followers (Picture: Getty Images)

QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory which has claimed that there is a cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media, being fought by Donald Trump.

It is thought to have begun in 2017, after an anonymous user posted a string of messages on the website 4chan, signing them off with the letter ‘Q’, and claiming to have a level of US security approval referred to as ‘Q clearance’.

Further messages – written in cryptic language and seemingly littered with pro-Trump themes – followed, and were referred to as ‘Q drops’ or ‘breadcrumbs’, with the mysterious Q growing in popularity across social media.

Q has proven to be a prolific poster, allowing followers to select titbits which vaguely resemble the truth, while ignoring the rest.

What do its followers believe?

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
QAnon was linked to the riots in the Washington DC last week (Picture: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

It’s thought that QAnon has hundreds of thousands of followers who believe the postings, with its popularity having grown even more in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The movement is of the belief that Trump’s alleged fight against Satan-worshipping paedophiles will end with a ‘day of reckoning’ which will see many high-profile people arrested.

The group has also gained traction within the ‘alt-right’ and is linked to anti-vaccine and 5G beliefs.