Yes, Twitter really have done it, this is fantastic news. They are taking a stance against deeply harmful bullshit by removing thousands of QAnon accounts. Here is what has happened yesterday…
This is just the beginning. Twitter officials are advising the media that the crackdown against QAnon is expected to affect more than 150,000 accounts, making it the most wide-reaching and aggressive response to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory that any social media platform has ever undertaken.
What Exactly is QAnon?
QAnon is basically a far-right conspiracy claim that there exists a secret plot by the US “deep state” against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters. Actually that’s a tad simplistic, the actual belief is that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world. Trump is regarded as a messiah, God’s chosen man, to scupper their plans.
Those that believe all of this stuff also seriously think that Donald Trump faked collusion with Russians in order to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the ring and prevented a coup d’état by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros.
True believers have terms such as The Storm and The Great Awakening to describe things that they truly believe are just about to happen. “The Storm” is an anticipated event in which thousands of people, the supposed members of the cabal, will be arrested, possibly sent to Guantanamo Bay prison or face military tribunals, and the U.S. military will brutally take over the country. The result will be the supposed salvation and a utopia on earth.
There are several very consistent things here …
- The actual evidence for any of this is exactly zero
- Anything predicted never happens.
- If you ask a true believer for evidence, none will ever be presented. You will face deflection and will be told to “Do your research” (Tip: It’s their claim, so it is their responsibility to cite evidence. Burden of proof is with them)
For lots more details you will find that the Wikipedia page covers it all rather well.
Why has Twitter Banned them?
If they were harmless cranks and crackpots, then most would roll their eyes and ignore it all, and so Twitter would have done nothing.
It turns out that this is not the case with QAnon. QAnon believers have been instigating networked harassment, not just of politicians and celebrities but of private citizens they believe are involved in a satanic pedophile cult. This is why action was needed.
No doubt many will pop up claiming that this breaches their First Amendment right to “Free Speech”. There are two points to that …
- Harassment isn’t free speech. Actions such as harassment does have consequences
- Twitter is a private organization, the first amendment only applies to government stopping you from speaking. As a private organization they get to decide who can and can not use their platform.
This is not a new move, others have already taken similar steps. Two years ago, Reddit banned QAnon message boards for “inciting violence,” and Facebook said in May that it had also removed QAnon pages.
They are truly Dangerous
The FBI warned in a bulletin last year that QAnon will probably drive “both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” In one high-profile murder trial, the alleged killer’s lawyers say he was a QAnon believer driven to shoot a man he believed to be part of the supposed government plot.
In recent years, followers have targeted Teigen over false claims linking her to Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy sex offender. Last week, Teigen demanded Twitter crack down on the abuse, saying it was impossible to block so many accounts making threats toward her and her family.
“I have a family and job and there are too many to target,’ she tweeted, adding, “They have no idea how hard this is to cope with. They won’t stop until I die. I’m convinced of it. And even then they’ll think of another conspiracy.”
The thousands of QAnon accounts recently deleted by Twitter violated company rules against operating multiple accounts, coordinating harassment against individuals and evading previous bans, the company said.
Why do so many believe this nonsense?
In generic terms, it is Pareidolia for conspiracy theorists. Sitting between your ears is a highly tuned pattern seeking engine. Our brains are like that because finding patterns gave our species a very distinct survival advantage. We have been naturally selected to be like this. Our ancestors are the ones who could work out patterns such as the realisation that during dry seasons potential food would always head to the water sources and that was where the best hunting could be done.
What QAnon folks never do is present you with evidence, instead the line is “Do your research”. That means they are telling you to hunt through random noise until your pattern seeking engine kicks in and you start seeing patterns. It is as credible as looking at clouds and seeking shapes.
Seriously, your brain is wired to literally see things that are not actually there at all. Here are some visual examples to illustrate this. The following are everyday things … and yet your brain is telling you that it sees something that you know is not real and not actually there.