Twitter has banned several top Trump allies, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and one-time Trump election lawyer Sidney Powell, in what the site described as a crackdown on QAnon content two days after QAnon believers joined other Trump supporters in violently storming Congress.
The social media giant also permanently suspended Ron Watkins, a former administrator of QAnon conspiracy theory hub 8kun who had become a leading figure in post-election conspiracy theories alleging election fraud. Watkins, along with his father, had close access to the forum where anonymous poster “Q” publishes, and have been accused of being behind the conspiracy themselves.
Flynn, Powell, and Watkins had all promoted conspiracy theories about President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Flynn used Twitter to call for Trump to impose martial law rather than participate in a peaceful transfer of power. Powell and Watkins promoted a bevy of conspiracy theories aimed at undermining the legitimacy of Biden’s win, claims that were often retweeted by Trump himself.
In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said the suspended accounts violated Twitter’s rules 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,” Twitter said in a statement.
The ban comes a day after Twitter banned defamation lawyer Lin Wood, another key promoter of Trump conspiracy theories. Wood also promoted QAnon ideas, as well as calling for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence and baselessly accusing Chief Justice John Roberts of being involved in child sex trafficking.
QAnon supporters were prominent in the crowds that broke into the Capitol in a bid to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral vote win, with one man in a QAnon sweater leading a mob chasing a beleaguered Capitol Police officer in a viral video.
Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by police during the attack, posted the day before the riot about her belief that Wednesday would mark “The Storm”—the day QAnon believers claim Trump will violently execute or imprison his political foes in a fascist purge.