I get asked quite a lot about the difference between the original US QAnon movement and the recent rise of a new, soft, global QAnon. Here's how I understand it: The original QAnon, until this year, was primarily an American movement deeply steeped into US culture and politics.
President Trump, the US culture war, partisan party politics and religious narratives of good vs evil and God vs Satan were central to the original QAnon movement. But the Covid-19 pandemic was a game changer. Suddenly, millions of people who'd previously barely heard of QAnon
found themselves in lockdown with hours and hours of time to spend on social media. Some people lost their jobs, were frightened by the impact of a virus about which we knew little, anxious about their loved ones, the wider community and the economy. And they found online content
that acknowledged their fears about lockdown, vaccines, masks, social distancing, jobs, civil liberties and the economy. Naturally, some of that content came from the US QAnon movement, who believed the virus was a plot by the deep state cabal and/or hostile enemies like China
to put an end to the Q operation, Trump presidency and the ensuing "storm". So US QAnon suddenly found a whole new global audience of Covid sceptics who might not necessarily have been interested in internal US politics and culture. And then the big shift happened in June/July,
when social media companies began restricting the famous QAnon terms, phrases and hashtags on their platforms. Suddenly, the reach of QAnon narratives and its ability ro recruit new believers was weakened, and therefore they came up with the idea of hijacking some
well-known, established hashtags and phrases like #SaveTheChildren and #SaveOurChildren. This was such a clever move. Millions of people around the world saw these hashtags pop up on their social media feeds. Who can possibly disagree with the idea of saving children and
opposing child abuse and trafficking? That's something literally all of us, regardless of our politics and personal views, can get behind. This is precisely why global "Save Our Children" marches have become popular, featuring diverse crowds from all walks of life/backgrounds.
Posts, memes and videos about the plight of hundreds of thousands of children around the world resonated with ordinary people in different countries. While some political, religious or cultural aspect of US QAnon might not have been too appealing to these people,
the secret paedo global elite aspect, brought to their attention by #SaveOurChildren, was. This is what I would describe as soft QAnon. And it probably explains why women and young people are heavily involved in these new rallies we are seeing in different parts of the world.
I spoke to people in a London "Save Our Children" march. While most were QAnon followers, some knew little about it or the nitty gritty of US politics, and were only there to campaign for children being trafficked by elites. However, the organisers are proper QAnon believers.
This is a distinction we need to make in our reporting if we want to understand the movement better. Not everyone who posts #SaveOurChildren on social media is necessarily a hardcore QAnon believer. And as QAnon spreads globally, the specifics will differ from one country
to another. So to sum up, two things happened this year which gave rise to US QAnon and made it a global movement with soft QAnon marches around the world: Covid-19 and the hijacking of #SaveOurChildren after social media companies clamped down on original QAnon terms.

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More from @Shayan86

12 Sep
THREAD: This week in QAnon, 5-12 September

These are last week's biggest posts in QAnon communities, which will hopefully give us an idea of the narratives QAnon believers are focusing on during the campaign and also the social media numbers they get despite ongoing restrictions
The biggest post of the week is a #SaveOurChildren Facebook post by rapper StatikG, who is a believer in QAnon. The post was shared 165,000 times
This post, shared on a QAnon Facebook page, urges all the "digital soldiers" to shop at Hobby Lobby. It has 64,000 shares
Read 9 tweets
5 Sep
Videos and photos are starting to emerge from today's QAnon-inspired "Save Our Children" march in central London. I'd say the number of people attending seems to be a bit higher than two weeks ago. Once again, young women are at the forefront of the march
Unsurprisingly, the Disney store on Oxford Street was met with chants of "shame on you". QAnon followers believe Disney is part of the cabal and heavily involved in child kidnapping and trafficking. Needless to say there's absolutely no evidence for this
A few "Pizzagate" photos from the London march near Parliament Square. A few other "Save Our Children" marches were held in other parts of the UK today too. If you came across one in your town or city, please DM me your photos/videos. QAnon is spreading at speed here
Read 6 tweets
1 Sep
BREAKING: Facebook has removed a new network of 2 pages and 13 fake accounts linked to the Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which was in the early stages of building its audience. It primarily focused on the US, UK, Algeria and Egypt
about.fb.com/news/2020/09/a…
The network created personas with fake names and AI-generated profile photos, who posed as news
editors from various countries, including the US. It posted content in English and Arabic, and had achieved 14,000 followers and spent around $480 on ads before being take down
The second network is also interesting. Made up of 42 Facebook pages and 36 Instagram accounts and with 509,000 followers, it was a foreign interference campaign run by US-based
strategic communications firm CLS Strategies targeting Venezuela, Mexico and Bolivia
Read 4 tweets
29 Aug
This flag was waved at today's Trafalgar Square rally against Covid-19 measures which featured David Icke, Piers Corbyn and Kate Shemirani
Another Q sign can be seen here, as protesters marched towards Downing Street. This wasn't meant to be a QAnon rally. But some believers still turned up
And there are more QAnon banners and signs in this thread by @JoeMulhall_
Read 7 tweets
29 Aug
This week in QAnon, 22-29 August: I'm starting a weekly thread of the biggest posts in QAnon communities, which will hopefully give us an idea of the narratives QAnon believers are focusing on during the campaign and also the numbers they get on social media despite restrictions
The most popular QAnon post this week is one of the biggest I've seen in the time I've been checking QAnon communities. It's a #SaveOurChildren Facebook meme posted three days after the company took action against more than 700 QAnon groups and 100 pages. It has 120,000 shares
Next is a TikTok video by a young QAnon activist who claims Billie Eilish "symbolises everything satanic to our youth" and has "666 on her head". It also claims Joe Biden is "part of a satanic cult and a huge paedophile sex-trafficking ring".
It has 220,000 views.
Read 12 tweets
23 Aug
BREAKING: Facebook has removed some of the biggest QAnon public groups with nearly 600,000 members in total over the weekend. This includes "QAnon News & Updates", the biggest of all QAnon groups on Facebook with 215,000 members. Let's look at the groups taken down one by one
Next one is "QARMY, QANON and all things Q related". The last time I looked, the gorup had 60,000 members. Its content generated over 1.1 million interactions (shares, likes, comments, reactions) just this year
Next group that's vanished this weekend is "QAnon News" with just over 50,000 members. The group's content had generated more than 500,000 interactions this year
Read 9 tweets

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