QAnon followers may become more violent, FBI warns | News | DW | 15.06.2021

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QAnon followers may become more violent, FBI warns

Former President Donald Trump, who is at the center of the conspiracy theory, has previously called QAnon followers "people who love our country."

A Trump supporter holds a Q sign at a rally in Pennsylvania

The far-right QAnon theory started online and claims that Trump is in a battle against "deep state" actors

Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory may become more violent in the future, as the movement's predictions fail to come true, the FBI said in an intelligence report that was released to the public on Monday. 

The far-right conspiracy theory alleges that former President Donald Trump is engaged in a battle against a shadowy cabal of child sex traffickers, which is connected to members of the Democratic party and liberal figures in Hollywood. The "Q" in the theory's name alludes to an anonymous online figure who outlined the supposed conspiracy on message boards.

What did the report say?

The report, which was also jointly compiled with the Department of Homeland Security and requested by New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, says some QAnon supporters "will likely begin they can no longer 'trust the plan' referenced in QAnon posts and that they have an obligation to change from 'digital soldiers' towards engaging in real world violence." 

Many QAnon followers refuse to believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election against Trump. The slogan "trust the plan" refers to the day when Trump wll be reinstated as president and crack down on his enemies.

The FBI says the theory will be kept alive by the coronavirus pandemic, posts on social media, societal polarization in the US and the "frequency and content of pro-QAnon statements by public individuals who feature prominently in core QAnon narratives."

Watch video 10:05

Where does QAnon go after Trump?

What is QAnon's influence on US and global politics?

QAnon has made a notable impact on political discourse both in the US and abroad. 

Trump has previously praised QAnon supporters as "people who love our country." He had also frequently retweeted QAnon-affiliated accounts on Twitter, before he was banned from the platform

Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter have cracked down on QAnon-related accounts, with followers then flocking to more obscure platforms such as Parler.

Multiple QAnon followers were also involved in the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6, as lawmakers counted electoral votes to cement Biden's victory in last year's election. The FBI has arrested several self-identified QAnon followers who were tied to the Capitol riot. 

Some members of Congress, such as House Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, have pushed the QAnon theory.

In addition to the US, the QAnon movement also has a sizable number of followers in Germany and Japan.  

wd/aw (AP, Reuters)

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