As part of a massive purge targeting President Donald Trump’s supporters and conservatives, the big tech companies took another step to suppress free speech by targetting the QAnon movement.
Twitter on Monday, Jan. 11, said that it had removed more than 70,000 accounts that shared “QAnon-associated content” following the protest at the U.S. Capitol.
The mass censorship is “to protect the conversation on our service from attempts to incite violence, organize attacks, and share deliberately misleading information about the election outcome,” the Big Tech company said in a statement.
“Given the violent events in Washington, D.C., and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on 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,” it added.
Twitter’s attack on QAnon content came after the platform had moved to suspend President Trump’s accounts permanently. They also suspended the accounts of attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, along with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Ron Watkins. Watkins is the head of the website 8kun and hosts posts about QAnon.
In July, Twitter cracked down on content related to QAnon, removing over 7,000 accounts in the U.S. and over 150,000 globally.
Since Jan. 6, Facebook has banned President Trump until at least Jan. 20 and began deleting all content mentioning the “Stop the Steal” slogan. Other big tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon effectively shut down Parler, an alternative free-speech platform to Twitter.
Amazon also went after QAnon backers. On Monday, the company said it was working to remove some QAnon products from its online marketplace, citing policies prohibiting offensive and controversial materials, and objectionable content in books.
Twitter’s stock price plummeted more than 6% on Monday. According to Business Insider, the early drop erased more than $5 billion from Twitter’s market capitalization.
President Trump’s account was one of the most popular on Twitter. With more than 88 million followers, the president’s account helped generate tremendous publicity for the platform. The drop reflects investors’ concerns that the platform may soon become less competitive as the president’s supporters migrate to other platforms en mass.
Other social media companies like Facebook and Google on Monday also saw their stock prices drop.