Twitter suspends 70,000 accounts sharing QAnon content

By Guardian staff and agencies

Twitter has said it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts since Friday that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content as the social media site contined to crack down on content after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US 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.

Twitter said the move could result in some accounts losing thousands of followers.

“Our updated enforcement on QAnon content on Twitter, along with routine spam challenges, has resulted in changes in follower count for some people’s Twitter accounts. In some cases, these actions may have resulted in follower count changes in the thousands.”

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.

On Monday, Monday said it was working to remove some QAnon products from its online marketplace, citing policies that prohibit offensive inappropriate items.

The world’s largest online retailer drew scrutiny for having apparel with QAnon insignia and related books up for sale days after last week’s attack on the US Capitol.

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

Shares in Twitter dropped sharply after it permanently suspended Trump following the attack on the US Capitol last week. The social media company lost $5bn in market value as investors took fright at potential tougher future regulation for the site.

The storming of the Capitol building last week by Trump supporters delayed the certification of Biden’s election victory.

Lawmakers were forced to flee, as the building was mobbed by the president’s supporters who overwhelmed security forces. Five people died in the violence including one Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the crowds.