Amid Donald Trump's suspension, Twitter also bans accounts of loyalists as part of QAnon purge

Twitter banned a range of QAnon-related accounts, including high-profile Trump supporters Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, right before it cut off his own account.

Michael Flynn speaks to supporters of US President Donald J. Trump who gathered outside the Supreme Court to echo Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud in the US presidential election, in Washington, DC, USA, 12 December 2020.

Michael Flynn speaks to supporters of US President Donald Trump outside the Supreme Court Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud in the US presidential election Source: EPA

Twitter has permanently banned some of Donald Trump’s most hardline supporters, including his former national security advisor Michael Flynn and lawyer Sidney Powell, amid a purge of QAnon accounts.

The suspensions came shortly before the social media giant announced over the risk of possible further incitement of violence, following the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters this week.


Among the others removed on Twitter include Ron Watkins, the administrator of the 8kun online forum that is a haven for QAnon content.

QAnon is the baseless conspiracy movement that believes Democrats are part of a global pedophile ring.

In a statement, Twitter said the accounts had been suspended in line with its policy on "coordinated harmful activity".

"We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content."

Mr Trump's account was shut down on Saturday morning after Twitter said the president had violated its policies, saying two tweets he had published shortly after his temporary ban this week had been lifted could incite supporters into further acts of violence.

Facebook and Instagram have also banned Mr Trump indefinitely until Joe Biden's inauguration on 20 January.

Mr Trump last year pardoned Mr Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI in the early days of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. He was forced to resign as Mr Trump's national security advisor in February 2017.

Ms Powell was last month dropped from Mr Trump's legal team that was fighting his 2020 election loss after she was criticised for peddling conspiracy theories.

Twitter’s decision to ban Mr Trump was quickly mooted as a boon for the fringe social media platform Parler, which promotes itself as a haven for free speech and is used by right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists.

But shortly after Mr Trump’s suspension, Google announced it would remove Parler from its Play Store until the app adds “robust” content moderation.

Apple, meanwhile, has given Parler 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan or it will also remove the app.

3 min read
Published 9 January 2021 at 12:13pm
By Rashida Yosufzai