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What Is QAnon, the Viral Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory?

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What Is QAnon, the Viral Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory?

The New York Times,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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A dangerous set of conspiracy theories is gaining traction in American politics.

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It’s become too influential to ignore: QAnon, the blanket term for a notorious, multifaceted, pro-Trump conspiracy theory. The various threads of the QAnon conspiracy appear so outlandish that it’s easy to shrug them off. The fact that the movement has gained traction with hundreds of thousands of followers – thanks in large part to social media – makes QAnon a deeply worrying phenomenon, however. The best way to disarm the group’s baseless claims is to set the facts straight. This article accomplishes that goal by offering a practical overview of QAnon’s history, beliefs and development.


QAnon refers to a collection of conspiracy theories that an anonymous online persona started.

In October 2017, the online message board 4chan started featuring posts by an anonymous user named “Q Clearance Patriot,” or “Q.” The person claimed to be a high-ranking intelligence officer. Q warned that a “cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles” occupying key positions of power around the world was set to take down US President Donald Trump. Q alleged that the cabal included leading US Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Hollywood celebrities, and even religious leaders like Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. The group’s funding came, purportedly, from a global child sex-trafficking network. Q further stated that top US military generals had selected Trump to run for president to take down this criminal...

About the Author

Kevin Roose is a technology columnist for The New York Times

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