QAnon is a bizarre conspiracy theory, whose followers believe that Donald Trump is going to save the world from a cabal of Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires engaged in Satan-worshipping and child trafficking. Since 2017, QAnon has gone from a fringe US movement to a global phenomenon that flourished amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After months of the pandemic and lockdowns, Q’s messages flooded social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok all declared war on Q-anon and began deleting related hashtags and accounts. However, Qanon adherents are proving that the restrictions are no obstacle. We take a look at the origins of QAnon, how it attracts followers outside traditional audiences, and why banning QAnon content on major social media networks may have dangerous consequences.