Twitter blocks 70,000 QAnon accounts after Capitol riot

Who was the bare-chested protester in a Viking headdress and face paint during Wednesday’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol?. The man was among thousands of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Jake Angeli is a QAnon supporter who has been a fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year. He is widely known as the “QAnon Shaman”. Angeli has been spotted in the same costume at other pro-Trump rallies and counterprotests throughout 2020. During the Capitol siege, the man in the unusual get-up was shown standing triumphantly behind the speaker’s podium in the Senate chamber. A right-wing attempt to muddy the man’s identity went viral online after several lawmakers helped push the notion that the uprising was being led by left-wing group Antifa instead of the president’s supporters

LONDON — Twitter says it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far right QAnon conspiracy theory following last week’s U.S. Capitol riot.

The social media company said Tuesday that given the events last week in Washington, D.C., where a mob of pro-Trump loyalists tried to violently storm the Capitol building, it was taking action against online behavior “that has the potential to lead to offline harm."

In many cases, a single individual operated numerous accounts, driving up the total number of affected accounts, the company said in a blog post.

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“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's sweeping purge of QAnon accounts, which began Friday, is part of a wider crackdown that also includes its decision to ban President Donald Trump from the service over worries about further incitement to violence.

The suspensions mean some Twitter users will lose followers, in some cases by the thousands, the company said.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the belief that Trump is waging a secret campaign against “deep state” enemies and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. Twitter has previously tried to crack down on QAnon, removing more than 7,000 accounts in July.

Twitter said it’s also stepping up enforcement measures and starting Tuesday it will limit the spread of posts that violate its civic integrity policy by preventing anyone from replying to, liking or retweeting them. The policy prohibits attempts to manipulate elections and spread misleading info about their results, with repeated violations resulting in permanent suspension.

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