Twitter bans high-profile QAnon accounts in wake of Capitol Hill attack


Twitter cracks down on QAnon.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter banned on Friday the accounts of Gen. Michael Flynn, lawyer Sidney Powell and a host of other supporters of the bogus QAnon conspiracy theory embraced by many of President Donald Trump’s most avid fans. The move comes just a day after the social network lifted a lock on the president’s account for inflammatory tweets in the wake of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol.

Flynn, who served shortly as Trump’s national security advisor, and Powell, who represented Trump in some of his legal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, are both proponents of the baseless conspiracy theory. QAnon falsely states that a cabal of Satan-worshipping sex traffickers control the government.

QAnon has gripped Trump’s base and many of the people who attacked the Capitol on Wednesday wore T-shirts or held signs expressing their belief in the conspiracy theory. The FBI has said QAnon poses a threat to the country.

“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,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. 

The Twitter bans follow a series of highly unusual actions taken by social media companies to prevent the use of their platforms by the president to spread misinformation. Facebook took the unprecedented step of indefinitely blocking Trump’s account because “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” Amazon-owned Twitch and Snapchat also took action against the president’s accounts.

In Friday’s QAnon purge, Twitter also banned the account of Ron Watkins, the administrator of the 8kun message board where many of the conspiracy theory messages are posted. A new Twitter account using Watkins’ photo appeared shortly after the ban was instated. It is unclear whether it was Watkins’ account or a fake. 

The Twitter bans were reported earlier by NBC News.

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