Twitter purges QAnon presence on its platform
QAnon is a person or collective that puts out cryptic posts that its conservative supporters believe predict future political and foreign policy events. On Tuesday, Twitter announced a massive crackdown on all accounts and content tied to QAnon.
I'm agnostic about QAnon. I'm always a little suspicious of Nostradamus-style prophecies, which are so vaguely stated that they allow for lots of interpretive wiggle room. However, people whose intelligence I respect believe in QAnon, so I have no intention of writing it off as just another conspiracy theory.
Deborah Franklin wrote what is, to date, one of American Thinker's most read articles in 2020, explaining the QAnon phenomenon. Here's the short version (emphasis mine):
Q followers were prepared long in advance for the easing of hostilities with North Korea, the deflation of the mullahs of Iran, and the discovery of Ukraine as a hotbed of corruption for American politicians. They knew a great deal about Jeffrey Epstein's activities before the public did and anticipate even more shocking revelations to come. As Q likes to say, "Future proves past." As Q's predictions come true, they lend retroactive credibility to the entire enterprise.
Q's followers believe that Q is a military intelligence operation, the first of its kind, whose goal is to provide the public with secret information.
Q is a new weapon in the game of information warfare, bypassing a hostile media and corrupt government to communicate directly with the public.
Here's the way it works: Q posts messages (also known as "drops" or "crumbs") on an anonymous online forum, which are discussed, analyzed, and critiqued by the board's inhabitants. (The forum has changed a few times after massive online attacks.) Hundreds of social media accounts then spread Q's latest posting to worldwide followers who share their research, analysis, and interpretations of Q's latest information.
Although Franklin doesn't make a big deal of it in the above-quoted article, one of the most significant issues for QAnon and its followers is the contention that pedophilia is rampant among the powerful and well connected in the Western world. We've all learned about England's appalling Jimmy Saville scandal, and QAnon promises that the still hidden corruption is much more widespread than the Saville matter.
Twitter has determined to its own satisfaction that QAnon is a conspiracy theory and is deleting many of those hundreds of social media accounts, as well as cracking down on the spread of any QAnon information via Twitter:
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 22, 2020
The crackdown (and think of a "crackdown" in the way that word is used when we say "China is cracking down on dissidents" or "Uighurs") has already shut down 7,000 accounts and will affect around 150,000 accounts going forward.
What seems to have triggered the crackdown is a theory that circulated on Twitter, claiming that model and über-leftist Chrissy Teigen had a connection with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. The theory arose because, back in 2011, when she worked on a reality show called Toddlers & Tiaras, Teigen posted a sexually tinged (and since deleted) tweet about the little girls: "Seeing little girls do the splits half naked is just . . . I want to put myself in jail. #toddlersandtiaras."
Sexually normal people don't think that way, so you can see where people might have gotten the wrong idea about Teigen's sexual predilections, especially in light of the renewed focus on Epstein's island. Teigen vehemently denies either being a pedophile or having a connection to Epstein or Maxwell. However, that didn't stop online harassment, which caused her to delete 60,000 past tweets and block 1 million users.
QAnon supporters are obviously upset about the purge:
Y’all have a rampant pedophile community on your site & you’re spending your time banning QAnon people because Chrissy Teigen had a temper tantrum. https://t.co/Jzred7JRTl— Ashley StClair 🇺🇸 (@stclairashley) July 22, 2020
So Twitter does NOTHING about the threats I report from liberals because they’re “too busy” worried about covid...but they have time to go after QAnon over their opinions?— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) July 22, 2020
The bias couldn’t be more obvious at this point. pic.twitter.com/uvJg9VbzeD
Even those who don't believe in QAnon are upset about Twitter's decision:
QAnon is bullshit, but by banning it, this will only make people inclined to believe in it believe in it more.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) July 22, 2020
Another genius move. https://t.co/IyGsasUXYY
Meanwhile, organizations such as Rose City Antifa, an Antifa group that trains its operatives in violence, still has a Twitter account. This is so even though Antifa has had an active role in the violence in Portland. (A friend suggests that law enforcement likes these Antifa Twitter accounts, which make Antifa types easier to track.)
Again, I'm agnostic about QAnon. I'm not agnostic about Twitter, though. In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, it's made it clear that it's not going to repeat the "mistake" it made in 2016 when it allowed Trump and his followers to have a forum on the internet.
Image: YouTube screen grab.