In July a “strong” enforcement action by Twitter banned several thousand accounts linked to the false conspiracy theory QAnon, however many of its most prominent backers remained on the platform. Today, NBC News reports that several people — who have been closely linked to and often retweeted by President Trump — have been banned.
The list includes former US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and Ron Watkins, who has both been cited by the president as a basis for his claims of election fraud, and is the administrator of 8kun, the website where “Q” posts. Flynn was pardoned by Trump in November, after Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with a Russian diplomat. Sidney Powell has represented Trump in a number of unsuccessful lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the election.
In a statement, Twitter said today that “The accounts have been suspended in line with our policy on Coordinated Harmful Activity. We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content.”
The renewed “potential” for violence is noted in the wake of actual violence, after attacks and rioting on Capitol Hill resulted in five deaths. The attempt to storm Congress was planned and advocated for by many in the conspiracy theory groups over recent weeks and months, but only now is Twitter taking action, similar to its after-the-fact removal posts from Trump and temporary suspension of his account.
At the same time, the Washington Post reports that a letter signed by about 350 Twitter employees has been delivered to CEO Jack Dorsey and other company leaders pressing to permanently suspend Donald Trump’s account. According to the Post report, the letter also sought an investigation into the decisions that “led to the amplification of serious anti-democratic threats.”
Update (7:10 PM ET): Pro-Trump cartoonist Ben Garrison has also been suspended, and ultimately, so has Donald Trump.