Mapping the messenger: Exploring the disinformation of QAnon
Keywords:QAnon, Disinformation, Message Boards, Conspiracy Theory, Agenda Building
We analyzed message board content originating with the online persona “Q,” leader of the right-wing conspiracy community known as QAnon. We qualitatively placed all of Q’s messages into one of five qualitatively derived categories: allusion to hidden knowledge, undermining institutions and individuals, inspirational, administration and security, and call to action. Further analysis of how these categories are used by Q over time illustrates how the messaging evolved. Specifically, later Q messaging focused less on hidden knowledge and conspiratorial thinking and more on politics relative to earlier messaging. We also note what Q does not include in messages: very few direct calls to action are made to the QAnon community and no specific, direct calls for violent action. Implications and future directions of research are discussed.
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