President Donald Trump‘s former coronavirus task force adviser Scott Atlas has deleted his Twitter account amid the social media company’s crackdown on users––particularly subscribers to the QAnon conspiracy––who spread misinformation following last week’s attack on the Capitol.
“In my view, Twitter has become a destructive place that mainly inflames extreme thinking and disseminates distortions, rather than elucidating factual information and respectful, civilized discussion,” Atlas said in an email to STAT News.
Ahead of deleting his Twitter account, Atlas had remarked about losing more than 12,000 followers, an admission that placed him at the receiving end of heavy criticism for following and amplifying misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Twitter announced in a blog post that it had suspended more than 70,000 accounts “as a result of our efforts, with many instances of a single individual operating numerous accounts. These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service.”
“Our updated enforcement on QAnon content on Twitter, along with routine spam challenges, has resulted in changes in follower count for some people’s Twitter accounts. In some cases, these actions may have resulted in follower count changes in the thousands,” the company added.
Twitter also updated its civic integrity policy now that President-elect Joe Biden‘s win has been certified by Congress.
“The updated policy provides details about how we enforce against violations of this policy, including repeated sharing of Tweets that receive warning labels,” the company said. “Ultimately, repeated violations of this policy can result in permanent suspension.”
Atlas is a radiologist with no background in epidemiology whose inclusion on the coronavirus task force was marked by controversy, particularly his insistence that face coverings and social distancing are not effective against the measure. He also pushed for establishing herd immunity without mitigation.