Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

What Happens When QAnon Seeps From the Web to the Offline World

The New York Times – “…What began online more than two years ago as an intricate, if baseless, conspiracy theory that quickly attracted thousands of followers has since found footholds in the offline world. QAnon has surfaced in political campaigns, criminal cases, merchandising and at least one college class…QAnon began in October 2017, when a pseudonymous user of the online message board 4chan started writing cryptic posts under the name Q Clearance Patriot. The person claimed to be a high-ranking official privy to top-secret information from Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Over two years and more than 3,500 posts, Q — whose identity has never been determined — has unspooled a sprawling conspiracy narrative that claims, among other things, that Mr. Trump was recruited by the military to run for office in order to break up a global cabal of pedophiles, and that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation would end with prominent Democrats’ being imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. The anonymous posts subsequently moved to 8chan, where they remained until August, when that site was taken offline after the El Paso mass shooting. They now live on 8kun, a new website built by 8chan’s owner. Some QAnon fans are hardened conspiracy buffs who previously believed other fringe theories, such as the bogus claim that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were an “inside job.” But many QAnon adherents are everyday Americans who have found in Q’s messages a source of partisan energy, affirmation of their suspicions about powerful institutions or a feeling of having special knowledge. Some are older adults who discovered the theory through partisan Facebook groups or Twitter threads, and were drawn in by the movement’s promises of inside information from the White House (some QAnon devotees even believe that Mr. Trump posts himself, under the code name “Q+”)…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.