How Fringe Groups Are Using QAnon to Amplify Their Wild Messages - 2019-02-20
Germany's politics are being manipulated online. But the perpetrators aren't the much-talked-about Russian trolls accused of meddling in U.S. elections. They aren't bot accounts, either. They're conspiracy theorists riding on an American hoax.
The far-right QAnon conspiracy theory falsely accuses virtually all President Donald Trump's foes of being involved in a Satanic pedophilia and cannibalism ring. Its nebulous nature, branches of which include belief in time travel and reptilians, makes it a prime conspiracy theory for paranoid Americans. But the German far right—or at least people who support it—are jumping on the U.S.-based theory, according to a new study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an anti-extremism think tank. Now those troll armies are using QAnon as a megaphone for their own causes.
"We came across new international far-right networks that are active in Germany, promoting the far right's political and cultural agenda and attacking the AfD's [far-right party Alternative for Germany] political opponents," the ISD study's authors wrote. "The US-based conspiracy network QAnon has emboldened a German version, linking violent and anti-democratic conspiracy theories across the Atlantic."