Former President Donald Trump has boosted the content of accounts supporting the QAnon conspiracy theories on his Truth Social platform at a rapid pace since the FBI raided the Florida country club resort he calls home. In doing so, Trump has finally obliterated any plausible deniability previously bestowed on him in his earlier crosses with followers of the false conspiracy theory.
It’s no accident that QAnon supporters are using the former president’s social media platform, Truth Social. Appealing to them was an explicitly stated strategy to build their user base.
Media Matters senior researcher Alex Kaplan chronicled the efforts of CEO and former congressman Devin Nunes and former board member and Trump administration official Kash Patel to woo the community, including the initial promotion of an account that seemed to mimic the pseudonymous author, “Q”—the heart of the QAnon movement.
How Alex Jones’s Conspiracy Empire Sustained Even Being Banned From Social Media
Truth Social verified 47 QAnon promotion accounts with over 10,000 followers each, according to an analysis by NewsGuard. By Kaplan’s count, Trump used his Truth Social account on the platform to boost at least 50 separate QAnon support accounts for its 4+ million followers.
Kaplan, in a phone interview, said that QAnon content “plays a significant role in the Truth Social ecosystem” and that Trump’s sharing of content from QAnon accounts since the FBI ran a Mar-a-Lago search echoes his story of doing the same on Twitter before he was banned. Trump had shared posts from QAnon accounts prior to the FBI search, but Kaplan said the saturation of such content on his Truth Social feed has been particularly high since the search.
“There always seems to be a correlation between the amount of times Trump is expanding QAnon accounts and the periods when I would say he is under stress,” Kaplan told The Daily Beast. “QAnon accounts are usually the ones that compliment and reassure him, which I’m sure he likes.”
As a man who values devotion to himself above all else, Trump certainly appreciates an online community that imagines him to be a real figure engaged in a clandestine battle against his supposed enemies. And even as broad swaths of the movement have evolved from conundrums left in one of the internet’s many pits, they continue to produce a steady stream of nonsense for Trump and his supporters to uproot and deploy in a smokescreen they hope will separate them from any semblance of responsibility.
Last month, Trump posted a video on his Truth Social account that contained an audio track that QAnon believers and researchers believed was titled “WW1WGA”: an unmistakable slogan of the conspiracy movement.. A Trump spokesperson disputed the song’s identification, telling Vice News that the song was actually a “Mirrors” call by composer Will Van De Crommert. Experts said the songs were identical, though Vice reported that “Mirrors” was posted online a year before its copy titled QAnon. Regardless, the QAnon community on Truth Social declared the video to be proof that the author of the Q was who they thought they were. Kaplan said that between the video and Trump’s repeated sharing of content from QAnon accounts, conspiracy theorists are “getting it.” [pattern] and taking it as a sign” they were right all along.
True believers think Q was a high-profile government official with insights into a secret devised plan for Trump to thwart political, intelligence, business and entertainment leaders who orchestrate the global downfall and engage in satanic forms of child sexual abuse. Forensic linguists and documentarians would suspect that Ron Watkins, notorious for his role as administrator of the forum where Q posts were found during most of the author’s active time online, was actually responsible for at least some of the posts.
Since its debut in 2017, Q has gone on to post thousands of cryptic messages that formed the basis for a vivid tapestry of conspiracy theories that would help drive various people to criminal acts, including violence, kidnapping, terrorist threat, murder, and participation in the genocide of January. 6 Capitol Riot. The movement built around Q posts gained so much traction that the FBI would identify him by name in a 2019 memo about threats extreme conspiracy theorists posed to national security.
Despite these apparent dangers, Trump and his family members, lawyers and notable political allies have grown somewhat close to supporters of the conspiracy theory movement.
The striking language used by QAnon supporters has receded on major social media platforms, but many of the communities and influencers that brought their theories to life remain intact in the alternatives, now including Truth Social. Even as the community largely overcame its obsession with Q’s musings, causing some writers to misidentify the movement as dead, followers of the theories remained energized and active. Some fixed their gazes above their keyboards, choosing to run for office or get involved in a national election-denial movement that won the loyalty of nearly half of Republican nominees at the polls this fall. An influencer explicitly hopes to influence this year’s elections.
How Russian Disinformation Goes From the Kremlin to QAnon and Fox News
Throughout his presidency, Trump has avoided all chances to distance himself from the QAnon mobs who have become obsessed with his every move and every sentence. “I understand that they like me a lot, which I appreciate,” he told reporters in the 2020 White House briefing room. When asked about QAnon again during a town hall interview with NBC News, Trump declined to say that the theory was false and he claimed he didn’t know this before saying he heard that his believers “are very strongly against pedophilia”. The former president’s recent reinvigorated embrace of the movement’s supporters should expose just how tasteless these layoffs were.
Trump’s business partners have welcomed them to their platform, and it’s evident he likes what he sees.
It is past time to retire any plausible deniability that may have been granted to Trump’s fondness for his most conspiratorial supporters. It’s right in front of us, in a place called Truth.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
Get the Daily Beast’s biggest scoops and scandals straight to your inbox. Subscribe now.
Stay informed and get unlimited access to the Daily Beast’s unparalleled reports. Subscribe now.