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Category: Bellingcat

The Making of QAnon: A Crowdsourced Conspiracy

My essay outlining QAnon’s roots in 4chan culture first appeared at Bellingcat on January 7th, 2021. I’ve reproduced the text with permission (and made a minor edit to a line that never quite sat right with me). CONTENT WARNING: This document contains quotes from 4chan, which means it also contains slurs. I’ve left them unedited to convey the real tone of 4chan — it’s a racist, bilious place, and readers should feel that in their gut. ********************************************************************************************************** On January 6, chaos descended on Washington D.C. as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol Building. Amid the melee, a longtime QAnon promoter known as “the Q Shaman” made his way onto the Senate floor and occupied the speaker’s rostrum. He was far from the only QAnon supporter on the scene that day: another led the charge into the Capitol. Once again, this dangerous and eclectic conspiracy is in the spotlight. It has come a long way since its birth on a forum barely three years ago. On October 28, 2017, an anonymous user browsing the /pol/ section of 4chan, a notorious alt-right imageboard, saw a post that read, “Hillary Clinton will be arrested between 7:45 AM — 8:30 AM EST on Monday — the…