In the aftermath of the Capitol Riot, the online QAnon community, which believes that donald trump waging a covert war against an elite pedophile cabal, seemed to be at the end of its tether. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter had banned tens of thousands of QAnon accounts responsible for spreading election disinformation. This purge, coupled with the sudden disappearance of the leader of the group following the election of Joe Biden, presumably led many members to believe that the movement’s proverbial “storm” (i.e. the mass arrest and punishment of cabal members) might never come.
While that “storm” has yet to make landfall, QAnon is currently experiencing some sort of meaningful revival, thanks in large part to Trump’s full-throated embrace of the movement after the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago on last month. The Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of classified documents has breathed new life into the movement, with Truth Social, the former president’s social media platform, serving as a unique breeding ground for the claims the craziest of the group to date. QAnon influencers have a symbiotic relationship with Trump: they increase user activity on his app, where they can thrive without fear of being suspended, while the former president spreads their baseless theories to his millions of followers.
Until now, platform administrators have given Q-aligned personalities an element of legitimacy and authority that eluded them on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. According to data compiled by NewsGaurd and reported by The Daily Beast, 47 accounts promoting QAnon received verification badges on Truth Social, each with over 10,000 followers. Trump himself promoted 70 pro-QAnon accounts and “truth” — Truth Social’s equivalent of a retweet — dozens of Q-related posts amid new developments in the Justice Department investigation. In a 24-hour period last week, Trump shared 88 posts on his Truth Social accounts, at one point demanding that his presidential title be reinstated, writing, “Declare the rightful winner or, and that would be the solution. minimum, declare the 2020 Election irretrievably compromised and have a new election, immediately! »
At the end of his presidential term, Trump flirted with QAnon using coded language and vaguely praising him as an offshoot of MAGA which is “strongly against pedophilia”. Now less encumbered by the political risks of associating with the group, its references to QAnon have been far from subtle. “The Deep State whispered to President Trump ‘You can’t weather the storm,'” read the caption of a QAnon meme Trump shared last week. “The president whispered back, ‘I am the storm.'”
Another development that appears to have invigorated the “Q” crowd is Biden’s messaging campaign against pro-MAGA Republican extremism. Last week, after the president delivered a speech in Philadelphia condemning the election lies that have become part of the MAGA movement, which Biden called “semi-fascism,” a QAnon Telegram channel with nearly 300,000 subscribers accused Biden and the country’s “deep state” preparedness for a “false flag” operation that would likely target Trump supporters, according to Newsweek. A popular second channel QAnon accused Biden of using the speech to start “political wars” that would divide the country.
Although Truth Social appears to have enabled a rebirth for QAnon, the future of the platform remains uncertain, with the company embroiled in an ongoing legal and financial quagmire. At present, Truth Social still owes one of its service providers $1.6 million in backdated payments that have not been resolved, according to Axios. Meanwhile, Truth Social’s funder, Digital World Acquisition Corp., is facing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation for potentially arranging talks of an illegal merger before it was made public. (In prospectuses filed with the SEC in May, July, August and September 2021, Digital World Acquisition denied “having entered into substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with a business combination target” prior to its IPO. .) Still, Trump’s personal troubles proved somewhat of a boon for the fledgling company, with Truth Social garnering 88,000 downloads following the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago. By mid-August, the platform had been downloaded nearly 3 million times since it first appeared on the App Store in May.