Biden inauguration leaves QAnon believers in disarray

Followers of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory are split over how to react after Joe Biden’s inauguration confounded their predictions that Donald Trump would remain president in order to punish his enemies in the “deep state”.

Many reacted with shock and despair as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th US president.

“I just want to throw up,” said one in a popular chat on the Telegram messaging app. “I’m so sick of all the disinformation and false hope.”

For weeks, QAnon followers had been promoting 20 January as a day of reckoning, when prominent Democrats and other elite “Satanic paedophiles” would be arrested and executed on the orders of President Trump.

But, as Mr Biden took his oath and no arrests were made, some in the QAnon community had an uncomfortable meeting with reality.

“It’s done and we were played,” wrote another.

image captionOne popular Telegram channel angered a few followers by temporarily switching off comments in the chat

In the hours that followed, thousands more made similar comments on platforms like Gab, Telegram and other online forums where believers go to discuss the conspiracy, after being kicked off mainstream social media in the wake of the Capitol riots.

Doubt even seeped into posts by some of the biggest influencers of the movement, as some started to question the phrase “trust the plan” – a key QAnon slogan that has been used by Q, an anonymous figure whom followers believe to be an influential government insider.

“This is a very difficult day for all of us,” said one influencer whose Twitter account with 200,000 followers was recently suspended.

“Today’s inauguration makes no sense to the Christian patriots and we thought ‘the plan’ was the way we would take this country back.”

The QAnon community “risks fracturing”, said another influencer on Gab, a right-wing social media platform, adding that “real friendships might be irreparably damaged because people are angry”.

A number of extremist and neo-Nazi Telegram channels have already tried to capitalise on the chaos in the QAnon community, asking their members to seek out and convert distraught followers.

With frustration sweeping over their circles, however, some influential accounts told followers to keep the faith and not give up so easily.

image captionSome QAnon influencers refused to give up after the promised day of reckoning never materialised

One popular Telegram channel reassured its 130,000 subscribers that Mr Trump and the Q team were still in control behind the scenes, and the “evil deeds” of the deep state would be exposed “over the next four years”.

Some doubled down, criticising those who in their view had rushed to judgement.

One claimed Mr Biden was running his administration as an inmate inside a military compound, but he “doesn’t know it yet”.

Later in the day, Ron Watkins, one of the most influential figures in the QAnon community, called on his followers to move on – to the surprise of many observers.

The son of Jim Watkins, the man behind 8chan and 8kun – message boards filled with extreme language and views, violence and extreme sexual content on which Q posts – Ron Watkins has been one of the main purveyors of election conspiracies and played a vital role in encouraging some QAnon supporters to gather in Washington DC on 6 January.

“We gave it our all,” he said to his 120,000 subscribers on Telegram.

“Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”

image captionRon Watkins, a prominent QAnon influencer, appeared to throw the towel after the inauguration

As inauguration day drew to a close, QAnon communities were still filled with mixed emotions.

Some said they were waiting for “Q”, who has been largely silent since election day, to post as they had so many unanswered questions.

And some expressed hope that Mr Trump would communicate directly with them soon.

However, a considerable chunk of the community remains steadfast in their belief, urging one another to remain patient and keep the faith.

It is difficult to predict where the movement goes from here.

But some experts and researchers think that QAnon, which has successfully duped hundreds of thousands of followers into thinking they were the only ones able to stop a global cabal of criminals ruling the world, will not simply vanish overnight.

Followers “will likely remain a threat until they can exit the QAnon space”, tweeted extremism researcher Marc-Andre Argentino.

“Even without QAnon, without ‘Q’, without Trump, the core elements that lead these individuals to believe in QAnon will still remain and they will need to find outlets for their conspiratorial mindsets and their anti-democratic ideals,” he added.

(c) BBC

28 comments

  • “One popular Telegram channel reassured its 130,000 subscribers that Mr Trump and the Q team were still in control behind the scenes, and the “evil deeds” of the deep state would be exposed “over the next four years”.”

    Fuck, and I thought Russians are brainwashed.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Mix extreme religious views with conspiracy theories and you’ll find the perfect Trump-supporter! We that have warned about this for 4 years has been harassed by his supporters almost daily, that we hated the US, time for them to give us an excuse and tell the world that they was wrong. That will be their Nürnberg moment, the defense will be that we just followed order from our leader, as seen in statements given to the court after the attack on the Capitol! They supported the way to fascism, luckily the democracy in the US was strong enough to overthrow this experiment!

      Liked by 3 people

      • You have quite the imagination. Gosh, now Trump is gone what will you do? Your whole life existence depended on lying and hating the first US president to help Ukraine. Well, I hope you can find your life Knut, at least until 2024 when you can start hating again. You may continue to hate religious people though if it will help fuel your need for hate. But when you take your last breath on earth you will know God exists and you should hope he listens to you.

        Liked by 3 people

          • You’re right, my math was off ;)) I’m already in 2022…
            Did you see all the protests by Antifa and BLM yesterday? They are not with the Democrats even though the Democrats covered for their criminality all year. They say, “It’s ANTI-fascist” so if you don’t support them you MUST BE a fascist! You think the rabid left will see the light or do you think they will still support them and continue hating the guy that doubled the stock market in just 4 years and came up with vaccines in just 9 months? By the way, Obama’s 8 years increased the market 13% and Bush’s 8 years increased it just 15%.

            Liked by 3 people

        • That reminds me of a relative of mine: a Labour activist and a committed atheist all his life. A year after his death I said to his widow: ‘I bet he’s feeling very foolish now!’ I thought that would comfort her but no, she unfortunately did not find it remotely amusing.

          Liked by 3 people

          • I finally met a lady that believes this stuff at my work. She was telling me the 25,000 troops protecting the Capitol during the ceremonies yesterday are there to arrest the criminals that cheated during the election. I asked her where she read that and she said, “Q said…” I said who is Q? She said it was someone on Twitter that has all these inside people etc. He/She is just another shock jock having fun in their mother’s basement I think. She is the first person I met that knows this Q guy and she is one of our janitors. I asked how she felt about being lied to and she said there was a lot of other stuff coming. Oh well, some people just enjoy their conspiracies…like Knut, our janitor here ;))

            Liked by 3 people

      • Oh, brother. Knut, where did you put those confounded tablets?

        Liked by 3 people

  • QAnon is just a variant on the 19th century RuSSian-originated forgery ‘the protocols of the elders of Zion’. In the past 30 years it has been revived by sinister putler-lover and world class bore conspiracy theorist David Icke and again in the past 20 years by Alex Jones. Essentially it is the same conspiracy theory that inspired hitler. Namely that certain people : ‘globalists’ secretly control the world. These ‘globalists’ are usually Jews, Bilderbergers, Illuminati, Masons, alien lizards, royalty etc. Often they are paedos and cannibals too; as ‘Pizzagate’ confirms.
    It’s all bullshit for low iq arseholes. It was Icke who started building into the narrative that only putler could save the world from these Jewish alien lizards. QANon made the bad guys into Jewish high-ups in the Dems, but it’s essentially the same story, except this time it’s only Trump that can save the world. Fans were expecting ‘the storm’ on Inauguration Day. Apparently there was going to be mass arrests followed by executions. Even Mike Pence was expected to be strung up for ‘betraying’ Trump.
    All this crap could be seen on disqus channels, infowars etc. No doubt some of these imbeciles believed it. Most are very weak and harmless fools. But no doubt some are actually dangerous.
    Antifa/blm are the bigger threat though, because they are organised and have smart lawyers advising them.

    Liked by 6 people

  • Trump is still in control. 😇

    Liked by 5 people

  • How about the antifa demos in some US cities. Surprisingly, they actually demonstrated AGAINST the fossil.

    Liked by 4 people

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