Social media platform Twitter on Monday said that the company has taken down over 70,000 accounts sharing contents related to far-right conspiracy theory QAnon since January 8. The action came following the storming of United States Capitol complex by President Donald Trump’s supporters on January 6.

“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,” Twitter 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.”

Supporters of QAnon have pushed disproven and discredited several conspiracy theories, including a claim that Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators comprising prominent Democrats, Hollywood figures and others. Twitter had said on January 8 that it would permanently ban accounts pushing QAnon content.

In the blog, the social media platform said that misleading and false content around the US presidential elections were the basis of the January 6 incitement of violence at the Capitol.

“Now that the results of the election have been officially certified by Congress, we updated our Civic Integrity policy on Friday to aggressively increase our enforcement action on these claims,” it said. “The updated policy provides details about how we enforce against violations of this policy, including repeated sharing of tweets that receive warning labels. Ultimately, repeated violations of this policy can result in permanent suspension.”

Listing measures to combat harmful content, the company said that it was developing technology to flag potentially harmful tweets for human review so that action can be taken against them. Twitter said that it was conducting routine checks on spamming, in which the users would have to go through security measures to prove the authenticity of their accounts. This may result in the drop of a user’s follower count, it said. “This, along with our updated enforcement around coordinated harmful activity, means some people may notice drops or fluctuations in their follower count,” the social media platform said.

Twitter added that it has limited engagement on tweets labelled for violations of their civic integrity policy by not allowing reply, like or retweets option on them. “People on Twitter are still able to quote tweet to share this content with additional context or their own perspective,” it said.

Last week, Twitter had said in a blog post that the outgoing US president’s personal @realDonaldTrump account, which had more than 88 million followers, would be shut down immediately. The company said two tweets posted by him on Friday – one calling his supporters “American patriots” and another saying he would not attend Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on January 20 – were in violation of its policy against the glorification of violence.

Twitter had first temporarily blocked Trump’s account for 12 hours on January 6 following the siege of Capitol Hill, and warned him that additional violations via his account would result in a permanent suspension. Apart from Twitter, Facebook and its sister company Instagram have also blocked Trump’s accounts for policy violations.

US Capitol violence

At a rally on Janaury 6, Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. A mob had later stormed the Capitol building as members of the Congress were meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections.

Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate. Lawmakers put on gas masks and crouched under their desks as the police tried to secure the complex. The House was evacuated at first, but it reconvened hours later to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

Five people died in the violence, including a police officer, and at least 68 were arrested. The incident triggered shock in the US and across the world. Several officials related to the White House and security forces tendered resignations following the incident, while members of Trump’s Cabinet were reportedly discussing the possibility of removing him from the office.