Twitter is cracking down on the QAnon conspiracy theory because its supporters are causing real-world harm.
“We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” Twitter said on Tuesday. “In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”
The social media company is now going to stop QAnon content from appearing over Twitter’s trending, recommendation and search functions. URLs that lead to QAnon content will also be blocked from being shared over the social media platform.
The company announced the crackdown after banning more than 7,000 QAnon accounts in the past two weeks for violating its rules on targeted harassment, according to NBC News, which was first to report the policy change.
Twitter told PCMag no one incident sparked today’s crackdown. However, supporters of the conspiracy theory have been engaging in activities that have led to well-documented physical, societal and psychological harm offline, according to a Twitter spokesperson.
QAnon is a pro-Trump conspiracy theory that claims the President is leading a secret war against the “Deep State,” a hidden faction within the US government. The same theory also baselessly accuses numerous political figures and celebrities of being involved in a secret child sex trafficking ring.
Last week, the conspiracy theory took another bizarre turn when QAnon supporters accused furniture provider Wayfair and its executives of using storage cabinets to traffic missing children. The claim then spread rapidly over social media, causing the hashtags such as #wayfairchildtrafficking and #wayfairgate to trend on Twitter. (Wayfair says there is no truth to the claims.)
QAnon supporters have also targeted celebrity model Chrissy Teigen, claiming that she’s tied to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and also involved in child sex trafficking. “Every time I post food, some q anon loser asks if it contains baby,” she tweeted earlier this month.
“I actually deleted 60,000 tweets because I cannot fucking STAND you idiots anymore and I’m worried for my family,” she added in a separate tweet.
Twitter now says it’s going to permanently ban QAnon supporters who try to tweet about the conspiracy theory from multiple accounts, which can lead to harassment. “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,” the company added.