Twitter took action against a pair of President Trump’s close associates, banning them from the platform Friday.
Trump ally Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell were both suspended under Twitter’s “Coordinated Harmful Activity” policy. Ron Watkins, who previously ran 8kun (formerly 8chan) also saw his account removed.
“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,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Each figure has promoted the QAnon conspiracy in recent months. As part of Trump’s post-election legal team, Powell became a heroic figure to the QAnon crowd, which believes that a master plan being orchestrated behind the scenes will give the president a second term.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, embraced the QAnon movement last year, reciting an oath and saying the popular QAnon motto “where we go one, we go all!” Flynn has also been actively involved in Trump’s quest to overturn the results of the November election.
Of the three, Watkins is the furthest from Trump and the closest to the heart of QAnon. As the administrator of QAnon’s central online hub, Watkins played a key role QAnon’s explosion into the mainstream over the last few years. Beyond the ranks of believers, some QAnon observers believe that Ron Watkins or his father Jim Watkins are the mysterious “Q” figure, perpetuating the elaborate scheme by doling out cryptic bread crumbs for QAnon adherents.
Twitter first began restricting QAnon content in mid-2020, citing similar concerns over real world harm. The new enforcement plan goes much further, and Twitter’s new commitment to permanently suspending any QAnon stands to have a much bigger impact.