Claim: QAnon is a conspiracy theory. QAnon supporters believe that President Donald Trump is fighting enemies in his own government who are running a child sex trafficking ring run by top Democrats.
Rating: QAnon’s claims are FALSE. It has been denounced by most Democrats and Republicans, as well as Fox News, as a baseless conspiracy theory. The FBI has called QAnon a domestic terror threat because it regularly incites people to commit violence.
You may have noticed clothing and signs with a “Q” or “QAnon” on them. These refer to a conspiracy theory that falsely claims that the U.S. government is under attack from inside by a group of cannibalistic child traffickers who hold positions of power. It was a continuation of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which accused Democrats of running a child sex trafficking ring with the help of high level government officials.
The QAnon theory started on 4Chan, a message board for teenagers that is well known for many large-scale internet pranks. QAnon grew with Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign‘s involvement with Russia. QAnon followers said that the investigation was really about tracking down and detaining the powerful Democratic figures involved in violent child trafficking. Despite the QAnon predictions not coming true with the conclusion of the investigation, the conspiracy theories have changed and remain popular.
In 2019, QAnon was designated by the FBI as a domestic terror threat. “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” said the institution in a memo.
QAnon has also become synonymous with Trumpism. According to the FBI, QAnon posits that an anonymous government official named Q: “posts classified information online to reveal a covert effort, led by President Trump, to dismantle a conspiracy involving ‘deep state’ actors and global elites allegedly engaged in an international child sex trafficking ring.”
QAnon supporters’ crimes included, but not limited to the unlawful execution of an alleged Mafia boss, the invasion in 2016 of a pizzeria by a man with an assault rifle, and the planned kidnapping of a child by her mentally ill mother, who had lost custody due to abuse.
More recently, on Jan. 6, QAnon supporters were involved in storming the U.S. Capitol, which killed five people. More than 90 rioters have been arrested, including Jake Angeli, known as the “QAnon Shaman.” The investigation into who was involved in the riots are still ongoing by the FBI. The Associate Press reported, based on the social media profiles of the identified rioters, that a majority of the insurrectionists were members of Proud Boys, a white supremacist organization, and QAnon.
Following the Capitol riots, Amazon removed QAnon merchandise from its stores, and Twitter banned 70,000 QAnon accounts.
Most Republicans have joined their Democratic counterparts by denouncing QAnon as false. Despite this, two Republican candidates who believe in QAnon were voted into Congress in 2020.
QAnon has also been encouraged by Trump himself, who has said: “What I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia. I agree with that. I do agree with that.” And in response to the attack on the Capitol, Trump released a video telling those who stormed the building, “We love you. You’re very special.