Former President Donald Trump's Coronavirus Task Force Advisor Scott Atlas deleted his Twitter account when the social media company cracked down on users – particularly subscribers to the QAnon conspiracy – who followed the attack on the Capitol spread misinformation in the past week.
"In my view, Twitter has become a destructive place, primarily inciting extreme thinking and biasing rather than educating factual information and respectful, civilized discussion," Atlas said in an email to STAT News.
Before Atlas deleted his Twitter account, he noticed that he had lost more than 12,000 followers. This admitted that he was heavily criticized for pursuing and reinforcing misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Twitter announced in a blog post that more than 70,000 accounts had been suspended. "As a result of our efforts, many instances of a single person have kept numerous accounts. These accounts dealt with the large-scale sharing of malicious QAnon-associated content and were primarily dedicated to spreading this conspiracy theory throughout the service. "
"Our updated enforcement of QAnon content on Twitter as well as routine spam issues have resulted in changes in the number of followers for some people's Twitter accounts. In some cases, these actions may have resulted in changes in the number of followers in the thousands," added the company.
Twitter also updated its civic integrity policy after President-elect Joe Biden's victory was confirmed by Congress.
“That updated politics provides details on how we will address violations of this policy, including re-posting tweets that receive warning notices, ”the company said. "Ultimately, repeated violations of this policy can result in permanent suspension."
Atlas is a radiologist with no epidemiological background whose inclusion on the coronavirus task force has been marked by controversy, particularly his insistence that face covering and social distancing are ineffective against the measure. He also pushed for herd immunity to be established without weakening.
Alan is a New York-based writer, editor, and news junkie.