The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:00 am

Pushing to neutralize conspiracy theories

Social media firms suspending accounts

Associated Press

Social media platforms are continuing to crack down on fringe groups and conspiracy theories following last week's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy and Facebook is removing posts and content fraudulently claiming the U.S. election was stolen, as social media companies scramble to rein in harmful activity ahead of the presidential inauguration Jan. 20.

Twitter said Tuesday that given the events last week in Washington, D.C., where a mob of pro-Trump loyalists tried to violently storm the Capitol building, it was taking action against online behavior “that has the potential to lead to offline harm.”

In many cases, a single individual operated numerous accounts, driving up the total number of affected accounts, the company said in a blog post. The suspensions mean some Twitter users will lose followers, in some cases by the thousands, the company said.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against “deep state” enemies and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.

Twitter said it's also stepping up enforcement measures and starting Tuesday began to limit the spread of posts that violate its civic integrity policy by preventing anyone from replying to, liking or retweeting them. The policy prohibits attempts to manipulate elections and spread misleading info about their results.

Facebook said it is still allowing “robust conversations” about the election's outcome. “But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday's violence in DC, we're taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration,” executives said in a blog post.


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