QAnon's Coronavirus-Fueled Boom Is A Warning Of What's To Come - 2020-06-29
Hours after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity pondered the news on his radio show. It "may be true," he mused to his audience of millions, that "coronavirus fearmongering by the deep state will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent and push mandated medicines."
Once again, far-right conspiracy theories had broken loose from internet dens and shaped mainstream conservative media coverage. Hannity, a close confidant to President Donald Trump, was parroting a known promoter of QAnon, the online fringe movement that claims a "deep state" cabal of Satanist elites is running an international child sex trafficking ring, among an ever-expanding repertoire of other falsehoods.
The COVID-19 emergency has turbocharged QAnon's ability to spread tactical disinformation and attract new followers. As the movement seizes on public anxiety surrounding the virus to lure more people into its conspiratorial web, new data compiled by HuffPost reveals shocking spikes in traffic for dozens of the most influential QAnon accounts across social media. Many have more than tripled in size amid the crisis.