Twitter Action was taken Friday against a pair of close associates of President Trump, banning him from the stage as part of a broader effort to contain the QAnon conspiracy movement.
Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell were both suspended under Twitter’s “coordinated harmful activity” policy. Ron Watkins, who previously ran 8kun (formerly 8chan), also deleted his account.
“We have clarified that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to cause offline harm, and in the coming days has given renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior, we will permanently Will completely suspend accounts. QAnon dedicated to content sharing, ”a Twitter spokesperson told ClearTips.
In recent months, each figure has promoted QAnon, an elaborate planetarium of conspiracy theories that President Trump is fighting a secret battle against a cabal of political enemies engaging in child sexual trafficking, among other hostile claims.
As part of Trump’s post-election legal team, Powell became a heroic figure for the QAnon crowd, who believe a master plan is being made from behind the scenes that will give the president a second term. Powell also launched the Dominion Voting Machine conspiracy, which claims that the company’s equipment switched votes from Trump to Biden. The Dominion voting system is suing Powell for $ 1.3 billion on false claims, arguing that his “viral disinformation campaign” has damaged his business.
Flynn adopted the QAnon movement last year, recited an oath and the popular QAnon motto “Where We Go One, We All Go!” Flynn has also been actively involved in Trump’s quest to reverse the results of the November election. There was a shocking scandal then, with Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017. Last year, the Justice Department dropped the federal case against Flynn and Trump eventually issued a pardon to his former advisor.
Of the three, Watkins is the farthest from Trump and closest to QAnon’s heart. As the administrator of QAnon’s central online hub, Watkins played a key role in the explosion of QAnon over the years. Beyond the category of believers, some QAnon observers believe that Ron Watkins or his father, Jim Watkins, is the mysterious “Q” figure who implements the elaborate scheme by taking out pieces of cryptic bread to QAnon’s followers.
Twitter first began restricting QAnon content in mid-2020, citing similar concerns over real-world harm. The new enforcement plan goes much further, and Twitter’s new commitment to permanently suspend any QAnon has a huge impact.