Conspiracy theorist’s movement, QAnon, gains massive popularity waving flags and banners with one of its mottos – “Where we go one, we go all.” The movement goes global as President Trump becomes one of the prominent figures, with varying degrees.
QAnon’s following soared during the pandemic when everyone has the luxury of time sticking to their smartphones all day.
President Trump, known for his fight against child trafficking, has become one of the movement’s leading figures. In 2019, he received letter Q cardboard cutouts when he visited Japan.
Germany witnessed a rally opposing lockdowns last month. The movement’s motto, acronym “WW1WGA,” scattered in the crowd in the said protest.
These seem to be non-coincident as 70 countries were found to have large QAnon communities, researchers say.
The COVID-19 pandemic fueled the curious and the skeptics as it becomes the focus of most conspiracy theories. Such conspiracy theories resulted in distrust in the government, and worse, in public health departments that should have been the primary source of information.
QAnon’s primary conspiracy theory originated in the notion that influential “deep state” figures and Hollywood celebrities and elites run global child trafficking, the most horrendous exports. The theory has since changed into anti-institution and anti-Semitic.
QAnon grabbed a relatively massive following as government and institution distrust increased, paving the movement’s opportunity to push more disinformation instead.
Travis View, a QAnon Anonymous podcast co-host, said that as everyone got tied up at home, people spent more time online and began to go fall for the rabbit holes.
Social media is the biggest platform for QAnon’s worldwide reach, with some seen in Australia, Argentina, Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico. Supporters have expanded in other communities also built on government distrust, such as the refusal of vaccinations, to groups opposing the wearing of masks.
In last month’s report, NewsGuard discovered thousands of followers in Europe on QAnon’s various social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube pages, and Twitter. Several of the pages and groups have used the pandemic to grow their community and link the coronavirus to one of their primary enemies, the “deep state.”
Several online platforms have started to take action to stunt the movement’s growth.
In July, Twitter banned thousands of QAnon-affiliated accounts and crafted policies to limit its spread.
In August, Facebook deleted 900 groups and pages and likewise extended its policies on extremism.
However, such actions made little difference as a simple search for the group’s name would yield hundreds of results, making it difficult to totally eliminate them online. Telegram, a social media platform popular in some European countries, did little to regulate the group.
Trump remains an important figure, even in QAnon groups outside the US. Members in countries having close ties to the US government are called white hats, a term used to call people working in the government to reveal the deep state.
Some of the white hats are British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who appears to have insider information on 8kun imageboard, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has ties to QAnon poster Tim Stewart.
Experts believe the worldwide growth of QAnon has manifested in “Save the Children” rallies that occurred internationally. The community adversely flooded various social media platforms in advocating anti-child trafficking posts.
QAnon allegedly has used the legitimate concern of ceasing child trafficking to lure members in their publicity but did little to address the matter.
No violent cases have been associated yet to the community abroad. Still, several observers are worried it might escalate sooner since some members are eager to execute enemies belonging to the “deep state,” which would likely spark global threat.
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