Twitter suspends more than 70,000 accounts sharing QAnon content
A mobile phone displays the suspended status of the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump, in Washington, DC, USA, 09 January 2021. EPA-EFE FILE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
An exterior of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, USA 07 November 2013 before Twitter started training (reissued 11 January 2021). EPA-EFE FILE/ANDREW GOMBERT
Work continues on the inaugural platform following last week's insurrection on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 11 January 2021. EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW
Members of the New York National Guard form up on the East Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 11 January 2021. EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW
US President-elect Joe Biden. EFE/EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT/File
Washington, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Twitter announced that it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts dedicated to sharing QAnon content following the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington and ahead of the US presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
"Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon," Twitter said in a blog on Tuesday.
According to the site, many of the users affected by the move "held multiple accounts, driving up the total number of accounts impacted."
"Since Friday, more than 70,000 accounts have been suspended as a result of our efforts, with many instances of a single individual operating numerous accounts. 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 added.
The far-right conspiracy theory promoted QAnon claims that Trump is waging a global secret war against Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
Twitter stressed that it "will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm."
Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol last week, forcing Vice-President Mike Pence and lawmakers to shelter in the House and Senate chambers until they could be evacuated.
The assault on the Capitol came as lawmakers were proceeding with certifying Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the Nov. 3 presidential election. But in a speech before his supporters gathered in front of the White House, Trump urged them to march to Congress and once again repeated his baseless, and oft disproven, allegations that massive election fraud was the only reason that Biden had defeated his reelection bid.
Four people died during the chaotic and violent attack, while one of the police officials on duty at the Capitol during the attack died the next day.
On Jan. 8, Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."
Facebook and Instagram have also blocked the president from using his accounts until the transfer of power on Jan. 20, while Twitch and Snapchat have deactivated his profile indefinitely.
Twitter also suspended the accounts of several Trump allies who had promoted QAnon conspiracy theories, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, and the administrator of website 8kun (formerly 8chan), Ron Watkins. EFE-EPA
FBI warns of nationwide armed protests ahead of Biden's inauguration
(Update 1: adds information about FBI bulletin pars 1-6, minor edits, changes headline, lede)
Washington, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned of armed protests in all 50 United States capitols, including Washington DC, in the lead-up to president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, US media widely reported Monday, citing an internal bulletin.
The protests are being planned from Jan. 16 through Jan. 20, the day of Biden’s public inauguration, and comes after pro-Donald Trump radicals rioted through the US Capitol last week, leaving five people dead.
The bulletin said the FBI had also received information on "an identified group calling for others to join them in 'storming' state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as president prior to Inauguration Day," according to CNN.
The bulletin added that an armed group intending to travel to Washington DC on Jan. 16 has warned that if Congress attempts to remove Trump via the 25th amendment, a "huge uprising will occur," according to ABC, which first reported the memo.
Threats against Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were also reported.
However, Biden said Monday that he was not afraid of taking the presidential oath of office on the steps of the Capitol as is US tradition.
"I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside," Biden told the media at a hospital in Newark, Delaware, where he went to get his second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Biden said that he thought Trump "should not be in office. Period." But he did not comment on congressional Democrats' call to Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president or they will begin a second impeachment process against him on Wednesday.
The president-elect also said that he hopes that those people who engaged in "seditious" behavior in the violent invasion of the Capitol legally pay for what they did.
Biden will assume the presidency on Wednesday next week in a ceremony that traditionally has been held on the steps of the US Capitol, surrounded by key figures in US politics and society.
Washington will hike security for the event by deploying up to 15,000 members of the National Guard to guarantee public safety, while the city's mayor, Muriel Bowser, has asked the public either not to attend the inauguration at all or to gather on the National Mall out of fear of new confrontations.
The assault on the Capitol last Wednesday came as lawmakers were proceeding with certifying Biden's victory in the Nov. 3 presidential vote. But in a speech before his supporters gathered in front of the White House, Trump urged them to march to Congress and once again repeated his baseless, and oft disproven, allegations that massive election fraud was the only reason that Biden had defeated his reelection bid.
Those election certification proceedings were temporarily disrupted by the violence, chaos and mayhem associated with the invasion of the Capitol. EFE-EPA