Last week, Twitter announced they suspended more than 7 thousand accounts linked to QAnon for violating platform rules. On top of that, Twitter asserted they “will stop recommending accounts and content related to QAnon, including material in email and follow recommendations, and [that they] will take steps to limit circulation of content in features like trends and search.” Twitter stated this will impact about 150 thousand accounts, but declined to provide the name of their spokesperson and did not provide any further details, making it easy for Twitter to continue dodging accountability:
This is part one of a series of QAnon-focused posts which will illustrate that Jack Dorsey is full of shit. Twitter’s part-time CEO needs to be held accountable for his role in the erosion of democracies across the world.
QAnon, General Flynn, President Trump, and One America News Network
QAnon is a pro-Trump, far-right conspiracy theory that emerged via an October 2017 4chan post by someone using the name Q. QAnon supporters believe that President Trump and his supporters are being targeted in a secret plot by an alleged “deep state.” In recent months, there have been a flurry of offline events that highlight the perils of QAnon — namely, how online information operations can radicalize people to the point of making very poor decisions in real life.
QAnon supporting accounts often tag their social posts with #WWG1WGA, which stands for “where we go one, we go all.” At an August 2019 Trump rally, a man warming up the crowd before President Trump spoke used the QAnon motto (he later denied that it was in reference to QAnon). More recently, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn tweeted a video using the #TakeTheOath hashtag, showing he and family members reciting the oath of office. The video, ending with the group reciting the QAnon motto “where we go one, we go all,” has been viewed more than 2 million times:
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, has a Twitter display name that includes three stars, referencing Flynn being a three-star general:
Including three stars in the display name of Twitter accounts is a common tactic Social Forensics has observed among QAnon accounts that engage in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) and/or accounts that benefit from said activity.
Posobiec, a correspondent for One America News Network (OANN), is currently being profiled by the SPLC in a series that links his rise to the white supremacist movement. Posobiec, who has a verified Twitter account with 923 thousand Followers (more than 20 thousand of which have bios that include “WWG1WGA”), is also a fellow at The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank:
President Trump, as noted by Politico earlier this month, has frequently amplified QAnon accounts/content, including doing so 14 times on July 4th, 2020:
On July 23rd, 2020—a couple days after Twitter’s QAnon crackdown announcement—OANN aired a segment defending the conspiracy theory:
The Biden campaign has recently stated they believe OAN, Trump’s favorite TV network, is peddling the Kremlin’s lies.
Through last week, @Inevitable_ET—with more than 330 thousand Followers—was one of the most followed QAnon accounts (the account was suspended by Twitter on July 22nd, 2020):
Twitter’s statement (i.e. they “will stop recommending accounts and content related to QAnon, including material in email and follow recommendations”) is complete bullshit. Take the @AQtime account (above), for example, which recommends following @VincentCrypt46 (154 thousand Followers), @TheCollectiveQ (267 thousand Followers), and @John_F_Kennnedy (309 thousand Followers) via Twitter’s “You might like” algorithm. Each of these accounts should be suspended for being in violation of Twitter Rules. Moreover, there are hundreds of thousands of inauthentic accounts comprising the Followers of said accounts that also should be suspended.
Rather than removing QAnon accounts that are in violation of Twitter Rules, instead, Dorsey continues to monetize ad inventory created from accounts amplifying the conspiracy theory:
I bet Amazon will be thrilled to discover they are paying Twitter to have their brand appear adjacent QAnon (kek).
Twitter announced their second quarter earnings last week. According to CFO Ned Segal, Twitter “grew mDAU to 186 million, a 34% year over year increase in Q2, the highest quarterly year-over-year growth rate we’ve delivered since we began reporting mDAU growth.” Included among those mDAU are accounts like @EyesOnQ2 and @MrBOTUS_520 (and where Amazon’s brand appear adjacent to via Twitter Ads). mDAU is Twitter’s own (opaque) audience metric and stands for “monetizeable daily active users.”
In March 2018, I wrote that “Twitter’s entire platform is propped up by misleading/inflated follower/following counts.” Nothing has changed since that time and Twitter remains a house of cards:
For a publicly traded technology company with a market cap approaching $30 billion, one would think evading Twitter bans would be a bit more difficult:
Social Forensics analyzed the Followers of @MrBOTUS_520 and found the vast majority of the 30K accounts to be inauthentic:
As we saw with @AQtime, Twitter’s “You might like” algorithm once again recommends additional QAnon accounts, in this case, @CaliAnon2 and @clscbsa_485. Twitter’s account recommendation algorithm is incredibly problematic in that in encourages people to go further down the QAnon rabbit hole.
Among @MrBOTUS_520’s Followers, for example, there are more than 2 thousand accounts that have included three stars in the display name of their accounts. Pretty much all of them are inauthentic, follow-for-follow accounts reflecting hyperactive activity, and that should have been suspended by Twitter long ago:
In aggregate the 2,049 three star display name accounts have tweeted more than 57 million times. That creates lots of ad inventory—which is of no value to advertisers—that Twitter then sells to Amazon and others. In other words, Twitter is committing ad fraud, and has been doing so for more than a decade.
OK, So What’s Your Point?
Jack Dorsey has zero issues being President Trump’s bitch so long as it bodes well for Twitter revenue. Unfortunately, democracies across the world continue to bear the burden of the tremendous negligence of Dorsey and his fellow Twitter executives:
Don’t throw stones from glass houses, Twitter Communications bro:
(Side note: it’s pathetic that Senator Kamala Harris has dealt with so much Twitter harassment, abuse, and platform manipulation when her former Press Security has been shilling for Twitter Communications for nearly 6 years)
In this series’ next post, we will illuminate thousands of Japanese language QAnon accounts that Dorsey continues to monetize, despite Twitter claiming to take a proactive approach towards mitigating against information operations/platform manipulation (and particularly those efforts connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory):
Jack Dorsey is full of shit. The out of touch billionaire has sold out America and runs Twitter as a cult-like amateur hour organization.
The sooner Elliott Management Corporation replaces this negligent buffoon, the better.. Jesse Cohn, let’s chat. I want Dorsey out of Twitter more than you do and have plenty of data to share with you that would justify replacing this clown. Let him go to Africa.
Social Forensics maps and monitors social connections and activity.
We create purposefully designed tools to manage social data analytics needs across various industries. Our focus is audience segmentation and identifying coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) across social media platforms.
Geoff Golberg is an NYC-based researcher (and entrepreneur) who is fascinated by graph visualization/network analysis—more specifically, when applied to social networks and blockchain activity. His experience spans structured finance, ad tech, and digital marketing/customer acquisition, both at startups and public companies.
Geoff is the Founder/CEO/Janitor of Social Forensics.