Crackdown on QAnon conspiracy content is working, Twitter says

Twitter said Thursday it has reduced impressions on QAnon-related tweets by more than 50 per cent through its “work to deamplify content and accounts” associated with the conspiracy theory.

In July, the social media company said it would stop recommending QAnon content and accounts in a crackdown it expected would affect about 150,000 accounts.

QAnon is a fringe group that claims “deep-state” traitors are plotting against U.S. President Donald Trump. It has also claimed that Democratic Party members are behind international crime rings.

Last year, the FBI issued a warning about “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” and designated QAnon as a potential domestic extremist threat.

In a blog post on Thursday, Twitter laid out how it assesses groups and content for harmful activity, saying it must find evidence that individuals associated with a group or campaign are engaged in some kind of co-ordination that may harm others.

The company said this co-ordination could be technical — for example, an individual operating multiple accounts to tweet the same message — or social, such as using a messaging app to organize many people to tweet at the same time.

Twitter said it prohibits all forms of technical co-ordination, but for social co-ordination to break its rules, there must be evidence of physical or psychological harm, or ‘informational’ harm caused by false or misleading content.

Facebook has also cracked down on QAnon content. Last month it removed nearly 800 QAnon conspiracy groups for posts celebrating violence, showing intent to use weapons, or attracting followers with patterns of violent behaviour.

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