A baseless American conspiracy theory had to gain a foothold in Europe. New research shows how


The baseless Pizzagate claim emerged during the 2016 election. Later that same year, a gunman showed up and fired an AR-15 inside Pizzeria, stating that he was trying to rescue non-existent child sex slaves.

Now a report by Internet trust tool NewsGuard has found that the coronavirus epidemic is helping this uniquely American ideology gain a foothold in Europe.

In April, newsguards noted an increase in QAnon social media groups and pages, as the lockdown carried out by the new virus limited millions to their homes.

Coronovirus intrigues increased with the increase in infection.

Such claims served as a “gateway drug” to QAnon, giving Europeans the right way in “the online cult, Chine Labe, Europe managing editor of NewsGuard”.

Conspiracy roots in America

QAnon started in 2017 as a single plot with an anonymous secret post on the online forum 4chan. The person behind it – whom followers would later call “Q” – claimed that Hillary Clinton was to be arrested. No such arrests were made.

But other claims of arrest and similar posts pushing “deep state” action continued to appear on 4chan. It is not clear who was behind the posts, or if the same person posted those who followed.

Qion supporters have compared early posts and later ones to breadcrumbs, or “drops,” such as Hansel and Gretel, as they refer to them.

Qion followers, whose online behavior has been likened to a virtual cult by analysts, spread unfounded claims, amplifying them with theoretical or out-of-context evidence posted on social media in an effort to support the allegations We do.

Experts say that “the dedication also gives QAnon followers the opportunity for foreign intervention to use these narratives to their beliefs to their advantage,” an analyst at the Institute of Strategic Dialogues (ISD), Digital Research Unit, CNN , Aoife Gallagher said.

The movement has raised concerns about online harassment. Twitter banned more than 7,000 accounts, citing its policy of taking action on accounts with “offline loss potential”.

But while QAnon has its roots in the US – supporting and spreading baseless principles around mass shootings and elections – it has since morphed into an inhuman ideology, enforcing conspiracies with anti-conspiracy messages elsewhere.

“It’s such an easily translatable framework, because it’s so meta,” Labe said. “It is about the world’s elites with a Machiavellian plan, and every country in the world has elites.”

This ability to assimilate old frauds with new conspiracies surrounding the coronovirus outbreak has found QAnon to be “a broad group of followers” that goes beyond the US among some new agers and the conservative right, CNN to Galen.

“It is anti-touch for the far-right in the US, using anti-Semitic tropes and targeting people on the right-hand side,” [but] As it continues to spread, we are also watching it [the] Leftist anarchist side, ”she said.

Galen said QAnon has the potential not only to “seriously” undermine democracy, as it is a damaging narrative about individuals and institutions, but also “undermines the release of official information and bring the virus under control May hinder the effort, ”Gallagher said.

Spread all over Europe

As Newsguard reports, QAnon has managed to engage local socio-political concerns from Germany, Italy, France and Britain in its anti-Semitic “deep state”.

European Qion groups have gained a large footprint online, with the report identifying “448,760 followers or members” in social media groups.

According to NewsGuard, membership boom started in late 2019 and early 2020.

Reportedly, a French YouTube channel showing videos about QAnon has collected 21,500 subscribers since its creation in April this year. The report says that the UK Qion Facebook group formed in a single month has garnered more than 18,000 followers.

National political complaints have found a sound board at QAnon.

Twitter tries to catch QAnon's horse that was bold

German social media accounts portrayed Chancellor Angela Merkel as a ‘deep state puppet who needs to be overthrown, “the report states.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron has been dismissed as “a pawn” in the positions of the French-language QAnon.

And Italian QAnon supporters have praised far-right former Interior Minister Mateo Salvini, but have treated the country’s centrist Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte graciously.

Meanwhile, the British Qion Facebook groups are debating whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been “set up” by “Q” and taking out the “British swamp” with US President Donald Trump.

“Brexit on such discussion boards and the British government’s decision to ban Huawei from the UK’s 5G network have been cited as evidence of Johnson’s loyalty,” the report reads.

The report found that QAnon is taking place in Germany. Local social media accounts linked to the ideology surfaced in early 2018, which now includes a 99,600-follower German-language YouTube channel and a Facebook group with 30,100 members.

German celebrities have also joined the conspiracy.

Berlin-based vegetarian chef Attila Hildemann, who has posted on social media about his support for the principles at the QAnon Planetarium, pushed for a “free” Germany in June 2020. His post on the messaging app Telegram falsely claimed that Merkel was teaming up with “Gates, Zionists, Transhumanists and Communists” to plan a “genocide of the Germans”.

In a statement to CNN, Hilderman said that he is not a follower of the “Q”, but sees the movement “and supports it!” He stated that “Germany is not a free country, but is still in the possession of the Americans and therefore only the great nation of America has the power to free the Germans from Merkel’s reign of terror!”

Attila Hildemann, a German vegetarian chef, speaks to followers on 11 November 2020 during an anti-ban protest in Berlin's Lustgarten Park.

As reported by NewsGuard, singer Xavier Naidu has been a “driving force” behind the outbreak of the plot in Germany, regularly sharing QAnon content to his 84,000 subscribers on Telegram. CNN has seen at least five posts it has shared with QAnon groups on Telegram.

When asked to respond to allegations that Naidu promoted the spread of Qiyeon in Germany, a spokesman for Naidu said: “Xavier has nothing to do with Qion.”

A separate analysis of Gallagher at ISD found that Qion’s popularity in Germany coincides with Trump’s attacks on NATO and the European Union – a sentiment that appeals to anti-Atlantic conspiracy groups.

“There is a good appetite for that kind of rhetoric,” Gallagher said, adding German Qion groups on Telegram, “have seen a huge increase in membership of tens of thousands since the beginning of 2020”.

Twitter down 7,000 accounts associated with QAnon

The theory remains on the fringes of European discourse, but analysts believe followers should depend on themselves with more mainstream movements.

As reported by NewsGuard, France’s Yellow West, or Gleit June, Facebook group supporting the movement – a campaign that has begun to protest rising gas prices and has since joined a widespread demonstration against Macron Is – “Lately Q is particularly interested in fiction.,” The report wrote.

A Yellow West group, which has 196,000 members, shared the QAnon video from a French QAnon site in July – created this May. “It shows how in some circles the two fights are interlinked,” Labe said.

Social media companies have targeted the conspiracy. Three sources familiar with Facebook’s work on misinformation told CNN in mid-July that the company plans to take action on QAN. When contacted by CNN this week, Facebook declined to comment.
But the jury is adamant on whether this will stop the spread of ideology. Many people say that the genie may already be out of the bottle.

Labbe argues that “censoring sets off conspiracies; as soon as you take down websites, they will find an alternative platform.”

But the opposite is also true. “QAnon thrives because it’s a community where everyone can reinforce their beliefs,” Gallagher said. “Facebook groups are one of the main places” where QAnon thrives, he explained. “Then it will be interesting to see Facebook’s next move.”

Donnie O’Sullivan and Paul P. of CNN Murphy contributed to this report

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