x

Politics

Social Media Crackdown Continues After Siege of US Capitol

January 12, 2021

LONDON — Social media platforms are continuing to crackdown on fringe groups and conspiracy theories following last week's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far right QAnon conspiracy and Facebook is removing posts and content fraudulently claiming that the U.S. election was stolen as social media companies scramble to rein in harmful activity ahead of the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. 

Twitter said Tuesday that given the events last week in Washington, D.C., where a mob of pro-Trump loyalists tried to violently storm the Capitol building, it was taking action against online behavior "that has the potential to lead to offline harm."

In many cases, a single individual operated numerous accounts, driving up the total number of affected accounts, the company said in a blog post. 

"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.

Twitter's sweeping purge of QAnon accounts, which began Friday, is part of a crackdown that also includes its decision to ban President Donald Trump from the service over worries about further incitement to violence. 

The suspensions mean some Twitter users will lose followers, in some cases by the thousands, the company said.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the baseless belief that Trump is waging a secret campaign against "deep state" enemies and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. Twitter has been trying to rein in QAnon for months, removing more than 7,000 accounts in July.

Twitter said it's also stepping up enforcement measures and starting Tuesday it will limit the spread of posts that violate its civic integrity policy by preventing anyone from replying to, liking or retweeting them. The policy prohibits attempts to manipulate elections and spread misleading info about their results, with repeated violations resulting in permanent suspension. 

Facebook said late Monday that it will begin removing from its Facebook and Instagram platforms any content containing the phrase "stop the steal." Trump and his supporters have deployed the phrase to push false claims of voting fraud. 

Facebook said that it is still allowing "robust conversations" about the election's outcome. "But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday's violence in DC, we're taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration," executives said in a blog post. 

The company said it may take some time to "scale up" the new enforcement measure but it has already removed a "significant number of posts," without giving a specific number. 

RELATED

WASHINGTON  — Vice President Kamala Harris says “everything is at stake” with reproductive health rights in November's election as the Biden campaign steps up its focus on contrasting the positions taken by Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump on the issue before their debate this week.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Alberto, Season’s First Named Tropical Storm, Dumps Rain on Texas and Mexico, Which Reports 3 Deaths

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto rumbled toward northeast Mexico early Thursday as the first named storm of the season, carrying heavy rains that left three people dead but also brought hope to a region suffering under a prolonged, severe drought.

STUTTGART, Germany — A dramatic stoppage-time goal saw Hungary beat Scotland 1-0 at the European Championship on Sunday to wreck its opponent’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage of a major tournament for the first time in its history.

HOUSTON  — Gerardo Arteaga scored from the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute and Mexico beat Jamaica 1-0 on Saturday night in its Copa America opener.

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia's center-right leader secured parliamentary approval to lead a new coalition government in a vote late Sunday.

JERUSALEM — Leaders of major churches have accused Israeli authorities of launching a “coordinated attack” on the Christian presence in the Holy Land by initiating tax proceedings against them.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.