QAnon shifts into the mainstream, remains a far-right ally

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The rise of domestic fringe groups within the United States has been well documented, threatening political and social stability. The QAnon conspiracy theory has developed as one such destructive group, though it remains a largely misunderstood movement. Through a mixed-methods analysis of over 3.5 million messages on Telegram from three politically extreme communities - QAnon, far-right, and far-left - we studied how QAnon fits within the larger non-mainstream political ecosystem. Our analysis provides insights into how this new political movement is dissimilar to the far-right or the far-left but shares offline interests with the far-right. The topics discussed within QAnon communities were unique to the movement and the least reactive to news cycles. Links shared by QAnon, particularly from YouTube and Twitter, were often from traditional conservative sources and individuals, whereas the far-left and far-right relied on less mainstream sources. Finally, though QAnon may be distinct from the other communities, it coalesces with the far-right during particular political events where the former United States President Trump is a major player. Our findings highlight how fringe groups react to major political events and navigate conversations online.
Publisher
ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Issue Date
2022-02
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

HELIYON, v.8, no.2

DOI
10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e08764
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/292372
Appears in Collection
RIMS Journal PapersCS-Journal Papers(저널논문)GCT-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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