WBEZ brings you unbiased news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.The QAnon conspiracy theory originated in 2017, when an anonymous online figure, “Q” started posting on right-wing message boards. Q claims to have top secret government clearance. Q’s stories range from false notions about COVID-19 to a cabal running the U.S. government to the claim there’s a secret world of satanic pedophiles. This culminates in the belief that President Trump is a kind of savior figure.
Today, U.S. authorities are increasingly regarding QAnon as a domestic terror threat — especially following last week’s insurrection at the Capitol. But the people in the best position to address that threat are the families of Q followers — and they’re at a loss about how to do it.
Some of those family members spoke with us about how their family members started following QAnon and how that has affected their relationships.
Travis View researches right-wing conspiracies and hosts the podcast QAnon Anonymous. He explains how the QAnon story is not all that different from digital marketing tactics, and how followers become detached from reality.
Dannagal Young is an associate professor of communications at the University of Delaware and studies why people latch onto political conspiracy theories. She share some ways to help family members who are seemingly lost down one of these conspiracy rabbit holes.
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