If Chrissy Teigen opens her Twitter account, she will face less hatred in the future. “You have no right to coordinate attacks and make death threats,” write that American Model. “There is no opinion to describe people as pedophiles who rape and eat children.”
Like many other celebrities, Teigen has been targeted by the radical right-wing QAnon movement. Against this network Twitter now takes precedence. The platform has already deleted more than 7,000 accounts that Twitter attributed to the movement, and the scope and visibility of the conspiracy myths are also to be restricted.
That’s good news. Not just for dough, the recently announcedthat she had already blocked “a million accounts” and was still being harassed and threatened; not just for other Twitter users who see a little less madness. It is good news for all those who have not yet been blinded by hatred and delusion. Because QAnon is no longer just a few spinners that you can just ignore. The movement is dangerous – and its lies have real consequences.
What started three years ago in an obscure online forum has long gone far into society. QAnon supporters believe the Democrats are preparing a coup against Donald Trump. They smell alleged pedophile networks everywhere, their world view is shaped by racism and anti-Semitism. Armed supporters of QAnon were arrested several times, some of them shot at other people.
Trump and other Republicans repeatedly share QAnon messages. In Germany, too, the conspiracy stories are spreading: Corona deniers and QAnon believers mix on online platforms and messengers such as Telegram, and armed resistance is called for in some groups.
Twitter’s measures are not censorship, as some now complain about. Everyone is allowed to spread nonsense. But there is a difference between the claim that the earth is a disk and the assumption that Chrissy Teigen eats children for breakfast. When thousands of accounts launch coordinated attacks on individuals and followers take up arms, boundaries that have nothing to do with freedom of speech are crossed.
Those who banish the nonsense from their platform do not erase the nonsense from their heads. But it prevents it from reaching even more people and eating conspiracy ideologies further into society. Twitter has finally recognized this. As the New York Times Facebook is preparing similar steps, citing two anonymous employees. Other platforms like Youtube should take an example.