Twitter purged 70,000 QAnon accounts after the US Capitol siege, just as prominent conservatives reported losing thousands of followers

  • Twitter said Monday it had suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the conspiracy theory QAnon since Friday afternoon.
  • "These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service," Twitter said in a blog post.
  • The purge coincided with prominent conservatives, including Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, losing thousands of followers.
  • Supporters of the QAnon movement were seen on the front line in Wednesday's violence at the Capitol, including a QAnon influencer dubbed the "Q Shaman."
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Twitter announced on Monday evening that it had permanently suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory following the siege of the US Capitol.

The tech company said it started to block the accounts on Friday afternoon, citing an increased risk of harm after the violent insurrection in Washington on Wednesday.

"These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service," the company said in a blog post.

Twitter said the number of suspensions was so high because many individuals held multiple accounts linked to QAnon, the conspiracy theory that baselessly claims President Donald Trump is working to dismantle a network of elite child-abusers who run world affairs.

The company's suspensions had resulted in follower count changes in the thousands for some people's accounts, Twitter said. Twitter also said on Saturday that fluctuating follower numbers may be a result of it challenging the identity of accounts as part of its wider spam policy.

Read more: Twitter warns of more DC violence around January 20th as President-elect Biden expresses confidence his inauguration will be safe

Twitter's purge of QAnon accounts coincided with prominent conservative voices on the platform complaining about losing thousands of followers.

Per The Verge, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz complained about losing tens of thousands of followers, and Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley lost similar numbers.

Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign and counsel to Trump, tweeted Friday that she had lost 10,000 followers.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary and a Fox News contributor, tweeted that she had lost more than 50,000 followers. "The radical left and their big tech allies cannot marginalize, censor, or silence the American people. This is not China, this is United States of America, and we are a free country," she said.

Twitter didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about conservatives losing followers.

The suspensions come after Twitter said Friday it would permanently remove any accounts "solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content." Following this, the company blocked the accounts of Trump allies Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell.

Supporters of the QAnon movement were seen on the front line in Wednesday's violence at the Capitol, including a QAnon influencer dubbed the "Q Shaman." Some had long held January 6 as the coming of a violent event they called "The Storm" in which they hoped Trump's enemies would be punished in mass executions.

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