Foreign-based actors, principally in China and Russia, are spreading online disinformation rooted in QAnon conspiracy theories, fueling a movement that has become a mounting domestic terrorism threat, according to new analysis of online propaganda by a security firm.
The analysis by the Soufan Center, a New York-based research firm focused on national security threats, found that nearly one-fifth of 166,820 QAnon-related Facebook posts between January 2020 and the end of February 2021 originated from overseas administrators.
An advance copy of the report, which is being released today, was provided to Yahoo News.
“It’s very alarming,” said Jason Blazakis, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center and a former State Department counterterrorism official who is one of the authors of the report. “We have enough problems without the amplification of conspiracy theories by foreign actors, and that foreign impact really does stir up a hornet’s nest.”
The report injects a new element into the debate about how to counter QAnon — a bizarre but increasingly widespread conspiracy movement that has pushed the idea that the U.S. government is secretly run by Satan worshipers involved in a global sex trafficking ring. [Continue reading…]