Twitter BLOCKS 7,000 QAnon accounts and ‘shadow bans’ 150,000 others as it cracks down on wild conspiracy theories

TWITTER has suspended 7,000 accounts which have been promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory which claims the "Deep State" is working against Donald Trump.

The social media giant said it was taking action to combat misinformation and harassment from the supporters of the fringe theory.

Twitter bosses boasted they have removed 7,000 accounts linked to QAnon theories for violating rules against harassment, spam, platform manipulation and ban evasion. 

And a further 150,000 have been shadow banned, meaning their access and reach has been limited on the platform.

Announcing the changes via the Twitter Safety account, the company said QAnon will no longer feature in trending topics or the platform's search feature.

It will also block URLs associated with the group being shared on the platform as part of tough new measures this week.

Social media chiefs also banned the act of "swarming" – when users are harassed by others in a targeted campaign.

QAnon has been given special designation by Twitter as the firm links it to causing harm.

At least one terrorist incident and one murder have been linked to the theory which has spread like wildfire in many pro-Trump online circles.

The theory originated on message board 4Chan when an anonymous poster known only as "Q" made a series of unfounded claims in October, 2017.

Q claimed that Trump is fighting a war against the so-called "Deep State", a shadow government working against him which is also linked to an international cabal of Satan worshipers, cannibals and paedophiles.

Believers in QAnon are regularly seen at Trump rallies, often carrying banners or wearing clothes professing their support for Q.

President Trump himself has retweeted messages from accounts backing QAnon, but has never directly endorsed it.

Republican candidates running for office have given credence to QAnon, including some who will be up for election in November.

Q symbols have also been seen being worn by police officers, and a phrase linked to the theory was said by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.

The sprawling web spun out of the previous conspiracy theory Pizzagate, which falsely linked high profile Democrats to a fictitious paedophile ring being run out of the non-existent basement of a Washington pizzeria.

Pizzagate reached its peak notoriety when a man with a rifle opened fire on Comet Ping Pong in Washington as he attempted to "investigate" the claims.

Announcing the crackdown on QAnon, Twitter said: "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..

"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."

It added: "These actions will be rolled out comprehensively this week. We will continue to review this activity across our service and update our rules and enforcement approach again if necessary.

"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."

Celebrities and Trump critics have all been subject to harassment from aggressive and organised groups of QAnon supporters.

What is QAnon?

QAnon is a conspiracy theory that has taken hold among some hardcore Donald Trump supporters.

The theory centres around an anonymous source, Q, who is trying to tell the world about a secret war being waged against the "Deep State"

President Trump is said to be battling this cabal which is made up of paedophiles, Satan worshippers and cannibals.

Supporters of the entirely unfounded theory believe celebrities and political elites have been covertly running the United States government for decades.

The theory has been amplified online – with President Trump himself even retweeting from accounts linked to QAnon.

It grew out of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and first emerged eight months after 28-year-old man Edgar Welch armed himself with a rifle and fired at Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington on December, 3, 2016.

Welch was attempting to investigate false claims that the restaurant was at the center of a high profile child sex ring orchestrated by powerful people in Washington.

Since the first message from Q, which involved Hillary Clinton, the alleged insider has posted nearly 1,800 messages.

Followers try to decipher these nonsensical posts, with some of Trump's most loyal supporters using them as a way to explain away any scandal the President might face.

Most of the deadlines mentioned in Q's posts have been and gone, with all shown to be unfounded.

Republican candidates running for office have given credence to QAnon, including some who will be up for election in November.

Violence linked to QAnon includes the murder of mob boss Frank Cali by Anthony Comello, who had become obsessed with the theory and believed the gangster was a member of the "Deep State" in March 2019.

Comello believed he was under personal protection from Trump and spouted QAnon phrases while appearing in court after he shot Cali ten times.

Matthew Philip Wright was arrested on terrorism charges after he blocked traffic on the Hoover Dam in an armoured truck while armed with an AR-15 in June 2018.

He claimed he was on a mission for QAnon – and urged Trump to "uphold your oath" and "lock certain people up".

And then stripper Jessica Prim was arrested while carrying several knives after saying she wanted to "take out" Trump rival Joe Biden in April 2020.

She was arrested in New York City while attempting to board hospital ship USNS Comfort, with some QAnon theories stating the vessel was also linked to an imaginary paedophile ring.

General Flynn also swore on oath using the QAnon slogan "where we go one, we go all" on July 4 – and he is considered by many Q followers to be a martyr who worked to infiltrate the "Deep State".

Facebook already took actions to break up a QAnon network back in May when it removed five pages, six groups and 20 accounts.

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