Twitter boots prominent Trump allies in QAnon crackdown


FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Twitter Inc said on Friday it would permanently suspend accounts pushing QAnon content, banning prominent right-wing boosters of its conspiracy theories including Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell following Wednesday's storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump, and Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer, have both been close allies of the president and promoted efforts to cast doubt about his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Twitter also suspended Ron Watkins, the administrator of fringe message board 8kun, which effectively serves as home base for the QAnon conspiracy movement.

"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," Twitter said in a statement.

QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of far-fetched beliefs based on anonymous web postings from "Q", who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration.

At the core of the baseless conspiracy theories embraced by QAnon is the idea that Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and "deep state" allies.

QAnon has been amplified on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the video streaming service of Alphabet Inc's Google. Its adherents were among those who participated in the Capitol siege that left five people dead.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru, Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Bill Berkrot)

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