This group started in 2017 with conspiracy theories ranging from child exploitation to political upheavals regarding 2016 presidential elections.
Facebook has recently announced that it would:
“remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content.”
The announcement came as QAnon is gaining momentum not only in the United States but also in some countries of Europe and Latin America.
The cult started with anonymous posts on the internet from an account that identifies itself as ‘Q’ and claims to have inside knowledge of Trump Government. The messages on the post are mostly riddles in cryptic form and are called ‘Q drops’. Since then there has been a rise in the number of its followers internationally, increasing significantly during the pandemic.
There are thousands of groups, accounts and pages that are promoting QAnon on different social media platforms. The activities of the group came in Facebook’s notice after promoting violence on their different pages. As Facebook removed such posts they adapted quickly to avoid suspicion.
In the long list of misinformation promoted by the group, some gained quite a momentum such as 5G mobile phones cause cancer or coronavirus pandemic is just a ploy by political elites to control and watch common people.
According to the sources, the movement has garnered devoted followers in Germany, where it has morphed to include neo-Nazi sympathizers. Here, the conspiracy theory that Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, is a former spy and could be arrested anytime soon is quite popular.
As per the research done by Josef Holnburger, a data scientist at the University of Hamburg, Qlobal Change, a telegram Channel which promotes QAnon in Germany, has seen a rise of 100,000 followers from 20,000 to 120,000 since the pandemic started.
The various anti-lockdown protests have provided QAnon followers and some other far-right groups to express their views more widely. As claimed by The Jewish Student Union these protests have become “oasis of well-being” for such groups.
QAnon has proliferated to all the major social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok and Reddit. As tech companies are struggling to control their spread, the followers are moving towards platforms like Telegram which are less regulated.