Twitter has deleted ninety Dutch accounts that spread Qanon conspiracy theories. Twitter has confirmed this to the journalistic platform Pointer of KRO-NCRV. The accounts have spread misinformation about the US presidential election over the past few months.
Qanon supporters believe, among other things, that US President Trump is secretly fighting the deep state: a global, secret elite of pedophile, most Jewish and black, Satan worshippers seeking a world government. The accounts also accuse Trump‘s rival Joe Biden of child abuse.
Nearly one hundred thousand followers
“ Actually, those conspiracy theories are about everything and nothing. That is precisely the dangerous thing about these theories,” says Jerry Admonition of Pointer. “Everything that goes towards anti-Semitism or racism is incorporated into these theories. Qanon is originally also a far-right platform.”
Newsur-reporter Rudy Bouma has been following news about disinformation for years. He explains in this video why Qanon is not just a conspiracy theory:
The largest Dutch account had 5600 followers. The ninety deleted accounts had together almost one hundred thousand followers, says Admonien.
Reminding understands that Twitter has taken this step, even if it violates freedom of expression. “Fortunately, you can say quite a lot on platforms like this, even though it’s nonsense. But Twitter recognizes that these kinds of theories can lead to violence in the real world.”
A well-known example of this is the man who entered a pizza restaurant in Washington in 2016 with firearms because he had read on social media that children were being abused by a Democratic Party network in the basement.
Also in the Netherlands, politicians are accused of paedophilia or murder by Qanonners, says Vermanen.
Just before the US elections, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have already taken many Qanon accounts offline, as they are now more stringent against disinformation. Dutch YouTube and Twitter accounts of, among others, rapper Lange Frans were also deleted.
Over the past two months, Pointer has investigated which Dutch-language Twitter accounts tweet about the presidential election and post disinformation. Last week, the platform had identified 476 of these trolls.