Twitter has announced that it is permanently suspending some accounts related to QAnon and blocking URLs associated with the “Q” movement. The announcement was first made on Tuesday, July 21 by Twitter’s Safety account.
Here’s what you need to know.
The change is going to be far-reaching, according to a long thread shared by the Twitter Safety account. Twitter wrote:
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.
In addition, we will:
1. No longer serve content and accounts associated with QAnon in Trends and recommendations
2. Work to ensure we’re not highlighting this activity in search and conversations
3. Block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on Twitter
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.
In its announcement, Twitter said that it would permanently suspend any accounts tweeting about QAnon that also violated the multi-account policy, coordinated abuse against individuals, or evaded previous suspensions. Of note, Twitter did not say that it was suspending all QAnon related accounts. It did say that the company is suspending accounts that tweet QAnon content and also engage in the other listed violations.
Twitter will also no longer serve content associated with QAnon in trends or recommendations, it won’t highlight activity about QAnon in searches, and it will block URLs associated with QAnon on Twitter. It’s not clear at this time which Q-related URLs are going to be blocked.
The announcement came around the same time that NBC reported Twitter had banned 7,000 QAnon accounts and limited 150,000 others as part of its new actions against “Q” followers. The 7,000 accounts had been suspended over the last several weeks for breaking harassment rules.
A Twitter spokesman told NBC that Twitter had classified QAnon as coordinating harmful activity and was taking action because of “harm” done by the movement.
Reactions to the change are mixed.
Some responded on Twitter, saying that banning QAnon might make people believe it more. Paul Joseph Watson, an YouTube personality with 1.1 million followers, tweeted the sentiment, writing: “QAnon is bullsh**, but by banning it, this will only make people inclined to believe in it believe in it more. Another genius move.”
Another person wrote: “I’m not a Q follower…but this isn’t going to sit very well… Considering I see threats towards the president daily.”
Others supported the move. One person wrote: “Finally! Seeing what unhinged harassment that’s been targeted at @chrissyteigen has been frankly terrifying.”