Friday, 11 September 2020

QAnon friend of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison permanently suspended from Twitter for engaging in harmful activity on the social media platform

The Guardian, 10 September 2020:

Twitter says it permanently suspended a QAnon account belonging to a family friend of the prime minister, Scott Morrison, for “engaging in coordinated harmful activity”.

Twitter is in the middle of a broader crackdown on QAnon content and is attempting to reduce the amplification of accounts spreading “clear and well-documented informational, physical, societal and psychological offline harm on our service”.

BurnedSpy34, a prominent and prolific member of the Australian QAnon scene, was recently permanently suspended.

The man behind the account, Tim Stewart, regularly tweeted content associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory to his tens of thousands of followers, including bizarre and unfounded claims about Alexander Downer and Julie Bishop, among others.

The account you mentioned below has been permanently suspended for engaging in coordinated harmful activity,” a Twitter spokeswoman said.

Last year, the Guardian revealed that the owner of the account was a long-standing family friend of the Australian prime minister and his wife, Jenny. The families’ association was driven by the friendship between Stewart’s wife and Jenny.

His wife worked on the prime minister’s staff in a publicly funded position but not in any policy or advisory capacity. There is no evidence she shares her husband’s views. It is not clear whether the employment arrangement is ongoing.

Twitter is understood to have removed 7,000 accounts in the past several weeks for breaching its rules against spam, platform manipulation, and/or ban evasion. Its broader actions are expected to reduce visibility for 150,000 accounts globally.

It is possible that this friendship explains why Scott Morrison included the term “ritual sexual abuse” in his apology to the nation after the Royal Commission into the Insitutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its report and, why his wife appears to have flashed a white supremacy sign in an official photograph with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex.

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