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QAnon Movement Needs To Be Flushed

July 21, 2020

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Crackpots and conspiracy theorists are nothing new in our nation. For example, I enjoy reading history about the mid-20th century and the ginned-up idea that homegrown traitors “lost” Eastern Europe and China to communism is laughable, and easily proven to be wrong.   Such ridiculous claims about all sorts of events and people percolate throughout our history.

Now, though, due to Donald Trump disdaining facts and pushing such behavior forward daily, it has given license to a new batch of dangerous ideas to be unleashed.  But thankfully there is now blow-back, and I am pleased as that is a healthy sign for democracy.

Our nation has been attacked, and that is an appropriate word to use, from Donald Trump.  Consider Trump and his ‘birther’ creepiness, “Obamagate” if you can even get the word to cross your lips due to its lack of seriousness, Morning Joe anchor Joe Scarborough being maligned, and the smear to Chinese people over a virus.   The depth and the stench from the maliciously created conspiracies from Trump have posed a true danger to the nation.  In part, because there is a segment of his base who are so under-educated they actually believe them, and as such, some of these theories have stuck more than others.

I applaud efforts to undermine conspiracies.  Consider why I hold that view.  It is one thing to claim something about UFOs in New Mexico which has no consequence to anyone.  But when a vile and vicious creation is aimed at a nationality, as Trump does with Chinese people, it has real harmful effects.

Tonight CNN’s Reliable Sources has a segment of their evening newsletter which deals with one such lunatic group, those who are known as the QAnon movement.   And the efforts from Twitter to say “Enough”.

In a sweeping crackdown, Twitter announced Tuesday evening that it will take action on accounts and activity associated with the QAnon movement. It marks the first time the company has taken widespread action against QAnon affiliated content. “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” Twitter said in a statement. “In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”

Twitter outlined a series of steps it will take. The company said it will ban accounts tweeting “about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension.” NBC’s Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, who were first to report the story, said that so far approximately 7,000 such accounts have been taken down.

Twitter also said that it will take three more steps: “1. No longer serve content and accounts associated with QAnon in Trends and recommendations. 2. Work to ensure we’re not highlighting this activity in search and conversations. 3. Block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on Twitter.” Those actions, Twitter said, will be “rolled out comprehensively this week.”

It’s hard to understate the importance of these actions. Joan Donovan, who studies disinformation as the director of technology and social change research at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, explained that “the Q keyword has brought together a networked faction, aided by automation, that continuously spreads misinformation and inspires dangerous behaviors.” This will help curb access to this poisonous information…

Light and truth always prevail. Just like the ones who scorned Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and the State Department over China have been tossed on the ash-heap of history, so too will Trump and his ilk find that to be their eventual home.

Until then we need to hold steady and give support to those who turn up the temperature on the unstable ones who harbor conspiracy theories that undermine the nation.

And so it goes.

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