Mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook say they are trying to delete posts about QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that grew out of another conspiracy theory, Pizzagate. Of course, attempts to scrub QAnon from social media only add fuel to the fire. According to this Axios catch-up article, interest in the movement is growing faster than ever:
- There was more than 10 times as much Google search interest in QAnon in mid-July than in mid-January, according to Google Trends data.
- QAnon pages and groups on Facebook had nearly 10 times more likes at the end of last month than they did last July, according to data tracked by the Atlantic Council and shared with Axios.
- There has been a 190% increase in the daily average number of tweets with popular QAnon hashtags since March as compared to the seven months prior, according to data from GroupSense provided to Axios.
Parts of the mainstream Republican party have latched on, helping drive its conspiracy theories mainstream.
- 11 QAnon supporters are now 2020 Republican Congressional nominees.
- President Trump himself has retweeted QAnon followers at least 90 times since the pandemic began, and others in Trump's inner circle have also shared Q content.
Why is QAnon growing in popularity? Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT's Center for Civic Media has an explanation: "The idea that pedophile alien lizard people led by Hillary Clinton are running everything is more comfortable than the truth that no one has their hand firmly on the tiller."