For around three years, a particular conspiracy theory has been doing the rounds of social media among Americans who support President Donald Trump. Known as 'QAnon', it believes that there is a sinister 'deep state' in the United States of America, which has been battling the current occupant of White House.
Now, Twitter has decided to finally crack the whip on the propagation of this theory by initiating action to ban accounts that spread this theory. It will also not promote those profiles who direct readers towards sites that support it.
What is QAnon?
During his election campaign in 2016, President Donald Trump had talked about 'draining the swamp' – referring to the political establishment in Washington DC. This way, he tapped into the ever-present but recently aggravated mistrust of authority in American society.
Many of Trump's supporters felt disillusioned with the political and bureaucratic class and pinned their hopes on the current president to shake them root and branch. However, after Donald Trump became the US President, a mysterious message board called 4chan had messages posted by someone who appeared with the name 'Q.'
This Q claimed to be a person with access to the biggest secrets of the US government. He also claimed to be working for a top-secret investigation that President Trump has initiated into a worldwide ring of child abusers that includes top politicians, business leaders, and other influential people in the society. Due to the pseudonym used by the man, the whole matter came to be called QAnon theory.
At least one public meeting of President Trump had people carrying banners with QAnon written on it. The unknown person behind QAnon posts messages, which are cryptic in nature and lead to a feverish discussion on social media and the internet. The imagination of these people runs wild and they start sensing a conspiracy in everything.
Twitter now feels that it should no longer be a platform for the promotion of this whacky theory. According to the company, they have already suspended more than 7,000 accounts as part of its crackdown. They believe that the total number of Twitter profiles that have to be dealt with in relation to this problem may be much higher – around 150,000.
The company also released a statement wherein it said that it will act against those accounts that 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."
The organization also revealed that the suspensions would be permanent. How this would impact the proponents of this theory is anybody's guess. To those who are convinced of QAnon's bona fide, this would seem like the deep state trying to hide its misdeeds. To those who are realistic, it would be necessary, if not welcome, move.