A year after the attack on the Capitol, the QAnon community balkanized, but still influential

A man in a QAnon T-shirt waits for Donald Trump on September 25, 2021, in Perry, Georgia.  Despite the former president's setback, the conspiracy movement has not disappeared.

On January 6, 2021, the whole world discovered a shirtless man, horns on his head, posing proudly in the heart of the United States Capitol. Like millions of Internet users addicted to conspiracy theories, the “QAnon Shaman” (Jake Angeli, real name) believes in the prophecy according to which Donald Trump, supported by “Q”, a mysterious entity expressing itself in aphorisms on Internet, fight against a pedosatanist network in the White House. And the fact that, despite the electoral victory, according to them stolen, of Joe Biden, he will stay for a second term.

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The prophecy did not come true, and on January 20, Mr. Biden’s inauguration day, Mr. Trump did leave the Oval Office, and Mr. Angeli, who has since disowned the movement and the former president, was sentenced to forty-one months in prison. With him, many QAnons (nickname of his followers, contraction of “Q” and “anonymous”) turned on their heels, disappointed. Like the repentant conspirator Jitarth Jadeja, who in a surreal television moment apologized to a CNN host for believing he was eating babies. But others remained, more firmly convinced than ever of the existence of these plots.

How many are there today to adhere to this body of mystical, Trumpist and millenarian beliefs, born in 2017 and spread on conspiratorial forums of the extreme right, like 8chan or 8kun? It is impossible to quantify the extent of the phenomenon. Especially since, if some have shed their faith in “Q” and Donald Trump, they can remain permeable to fanciful stories.

A marginalized movement, but which has been emulated

According to several polls, between 3% and 7% of Americans identified in 2020 as members of the QAnon movement. Since the snub of January 6, 2021, the big platforms, Facebook in the lead, have cleaned up, deleting pages and profiles close to this community by the thousands, pushing it towards more marginal networks, such as Odysee, VK or Telegram.

Less visible because less centralized, his militant heart continues to reread the news under his delusional conspiratorial prism. A year after his “puppet” enthronement, Mr. Biden is said to be held captive in White House jails, replaced in public by an actor, while real power is secretly in the hands of the military and Mr. Trump. . As for the other leaders, like Emmanuel Macron, they would have been executed in 2018, replaced by look-alikes.

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This absurd story seems very marginal today, but in a diffuse way QAnon’s conspiratorial thinking software has deeply irradiated American society. At the end of spring 2021, a third of Americans continued to believe in the conspiracy theory according to which Mr. Biden would have “stolen” the American election of 2020, and even 15% in the existence of a pedosatanic elite who control society in the shadows. Two central theses in the imagination QAnon.

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