This evening, NBC News reported that Twitter would ban 7,000 QAnon accounts and take additional steps to substantially limit the reach of QAnon content on the platform, a move anticipated to affect thousands more users. The announcement follows an uptick in harassment by QAnon accounts and conspiracy theorists targeting high-profile critics of President Donald Trump.
In reaction to the report, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone issued the following statement:
In an era of hollow words and half measures from platforms, Twitter’s changed posture toward QAnon is significant and meaningful. If implemented effectively, this change stands to benefit the Twitter community as well as the public at large. QAnon adherents are a ticking time bomb on top of a powder keg.
Twitter has been a key source of QAnon’s explosive growth, especially recently as Donald Trump has increasingly promoted QAnon accounts and hashtag campaigns. It’s long past time that Twitter recognized this threat and responded with an approach designed to limit QAnon adherents’ ability to use Twitter as a launchpad for harassment campaigns and dangerous disinformation.
Twitter’s action on this issue today is important and other social platforms, namely Facebook, who have so far failed to act would be wise to follow Twitter’s lead.
Since January 2020, Media Matters has identified 66 current or former 2020 congressional candidates who have expressed support for QAnon. According to Media Matters research, Donald Trump has amplified tweets from accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory at least 185 times -- 90 of which have occurred in recent months.
In June, after Media Matters discovered that Roku allowed a channel dedicated to QAnon conspiracy theories called, “Q Channel - QAnon Channel,” to host “opinion based shows for getting the truth out, as we know it, about the QAnon movement,” a Roku spokesperson told The Verge that the channel was taken down. Media Matters reporting also led to Google removing the app for “distributing misleading or harmful information.”