After rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers into hiding and ultimately leading to the deaths of five people (six, if we count the Capitol Police officer who died by suicide in the days following), Twitter took the unprecedented step of permanently banning Donald Trump from its platform. Since the election Twitter had flagged the president's tweets that pushed disinformation about the election, but in the wake of the violence in the Capitol, concerns about incitement to more violence led them to warn Trump that he risked being banned if he kept up his inflammatory posts.
He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted. And so Twitter followed through, as did Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms that could be used to stir up extremist violence.
And quite predictably, people who inexplicably still support the president started crying about free speech.
Twitter also took the step of removing in bulk accounts that were dedicated to pushing QAnon, the quacky conspiracy theory that says Trump is in the process of taking down a secret cabal of Satan-worshiping, pedophile Democrats and celebrities. QAnon adherents have been a growing part of Trump's extremist base and the falsehoods they push have grown more and more a part of mainstream right-wing rhetoric.
In fact, they've grown so mainstream in the conservative ecosystem that removing those accounts resulted in many high-profile conservative politicians and personalities losing tens of thousands of followers all at once. And hoo boy, were they not happy about it.
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