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Virtual Cults and Their Believers

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QAnon is a virtual cult that began in late 2017, with a fundamental belief that Pres. Trump is a hero in a fight against the “deep state” and the evil of Democratic politicians and celebrities who abuse children. “Q” in QAnon indicates someone in the US government with insider knowledge of these governmental evils.

It is unclear as to how many people are part of this cult, but QAnon-related Facebook pages and groups based outside of the US are continuing to increase, with at least 12.8 million interactions from January 2020 to September, according to CNN.

QAnon is a weird mix of cult and conspiracy theory, but ultimately, it continues to branch off of a central worldview, which includes the whole assumption of the Democratic Party worshipping Satan, JFK Jr. having faked his death to escape deep state, and even false ideas regarding the 5G infrastructure and even the very dangerous idea that COVID-19 pandemic is a ploy to monitor private citizens.

The last is particularly harmful, but QAnon has no known leadership structure, and no true way to contain it.

The fact that Pres. Trump had won the 2016 election had a profound effect globally, it turns out, as a former QAnon believer explained, no major media outlet had predicted his win, and that had proven to him that most of these media outlets were not correct. Alex Jones, Infowars exposed some to QAnon theories. Those who are obsessed with QAnon would oftentimes only want to talk about QAnon theories, which makes offline life very difficult.

People are likely to seek out conspiracy theories in times of crises, say experts. With the 2016 US election and the ensuing chaos that seemed to be the Trump presidency, followed by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many people are feeling exactly that.

As conspiracy theories often blame some unknown party as orchestrating and controlling all aspects of one’s perceived reality, it can provide those unsettled by the chaos, some leverage to hold onto, even if dangerous.

In May 2019, FBI released a bulletin warning that conspiracy theorists like QAnon could “very likely” motivate criminal and sometimes violent activity in the US especially because of the extent and the content of the materials.

Modern social networks have made QAnon possible faster, as any misinformation can get in the mainstream quickly through platforms like Twitter. Reddit has banned the QAnon subreddit, and Twitter has removed 7,000 QAnon-associated accounts. Facebook is planning to ban QAnon-related pages, and YouTube will remove QAnon-related materials off of its website.

However, it is an enormous task given the widespread reach of QAnon globally.

Some are smart enough to notice the logical flaws of these conspiracy theories, others are not. Those who do, might be able to leave QAnon, and some are active on r/Qult_Headquarters to point out logical flaws in the conspiracies proposed by “Q.”

Since QAnon essentially fights against “facts,” this is not the way to solve the QAnon problem. It seems that to dissolve the dangerous entity known as QAnon, people must use empathy and sympathy and remind people that QAnon is essentially not a productive or helpful force in their lives.

Coree ILBO/ copyright (c) 2013-2020, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part with out the express written permission.

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