TWITTER has started to suspend accounts that mention the QAnon conspiracy theory or provide links to the group's "research".
QAnon is the bizarre claim that the Democrats, Hollywood elites and members of the media are engaged in a Satanic pedophile ring – and President Donald Trump is secretly plotting to have them all arrested.
Twitter's suspensions will reportedly impact some 150,000 accounts on the platform.
What is the QAnon conspiracy theory?
QAnon is an unfounded conspiracy theory that claims Trump is fighting a "deep state" network of political, entertainment, business and media elites.
Dark sub-theories have spun off from these claims, some involving Satanic plots and child trafficking.
QAnon began in October 2017 on the anonymous message board 4chan.
A 4chan user, who claimed to have had top secret security clearance, amplified the theory and signed off their posts simply as "Q", hence the name QAnon.
Q claims to be directly involved in a secret Trump-led investigation of a global network of child abusers.
Q communicates in cryptic posts that have garnered a large following of conspiracists on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Reddit.
At least one terrorist incident and one murder have been linked to the theory, which has spread like wildfire in many pro-Trump online circles.
How many accounts did Twitter block?
Twitter bosses boasted they have removed 7,000 accounts linked to QAnon for violating rules against harassment, spam, platform manipulation and ban evasion.
And a further 150,000 have been shadowbanned, meaning their access and reach has been limited on the platform.
The social media giant said it was taking action to combat misinformation and harassment from the supporters of the fringe theory.
Twitter released a statement claiming that QAnon conspiracists have been "engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension – something we've seen more of in recent weeks."
What have people said on Reddit?
QAnon followers have set Reddit alight with further conspiracy chatter as a result of the Twitter ban, claiming that the removal of accounts is some how a continuation of the plan to bring down the "deep state."
"Banning QAnon is all part of Donald's plan. This is Q leaving more crumbs for everyone to follow," one user speculated.
However, some Reddit users aren't as convinced.
"Did you ever have that one uncle who was weird, probably harmless, and had rock solid (in his mind) proof that the illuminati controlled every aspect of peoples lives all over the globe?" one user wrote.
"Imagine a couple thousand of him in a big gymnasium all shouting at the top of his lungs."
"If they just want to silence a bunch of crazies this is the wrong approach," another user added.
"These people already have a victim complex and there are plenty more hate-filled platforms for them to go to. This move will just radicalise the fringe further."
Has Trump said anything?
President Trump himself has retweeted messages from accounts backing QAnon, but has never directly endorsed it.
Believers in QAnon are regularly seen at Trump rallies, often carrying banners or wearing clothes professing their support for Q.
Republican candidates running for office have given credence to QAnon, including some who will be up for election in November.
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