Qanon, Social Media, and the Valley of Decision
The decision by the media a few weeks ago to put Qanon in the spotlight has caused a change in the way people address Q on social media. Fearing for their reputations, most elected officials have decided to denounce Q publicly. Some who aspire to be elected to public office have embraced Q, knowing it may earn them the support of patriots, but also knowing the media will attack them for it.
Most candidates aim to highlight the good their ideas would be for the community. You know, like improving schools or expanding healthcare access.
That’s not the case with QAnon-obsessed Marjorie Taylor Greene. https://t.co/ea41DtGMIt
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) September 4, 2020
The media’s false narrative that Q is a violent movement has been used by Facebook to justify the removal of thousands of users, pages, and groups. For some, the cost of discussing Q on social media has come at a high price. His posts about Q on Twitter cost Texas Assistant Attorney General, Nick Moutos, his job.
@mediamatters considers QAnon & any supporters #ViolentExtremists My support for #1A & against #Censorship & #Purging of Q followers & supporters was used as a reason to terminate my employment. #FreedomOfSpeechMatters pic.twitter.com/MKXB4ZdzWW
— Nick Moutos (@votenickmoutos) September 3, 2020
Many of my friends on Twitter have large followings. Conservative influencers tend to have a lot of followers who support Q. Some realize that if they attack Q, they risk alienating their followers. Knowing this, many have chosen not to weigh in on Q publicly. Others have admitted they don’t follow Q, but they’ve refrained from attacking the movement. They understand that we’re on the same side. They know that being friendly to the Q community will increase their visibility. There is little to gain and much to lose by expressing hostility toward Q.
That fact became evident when The Epoch Times published a hit piece on Q last month and posted a link to it on their Twitter account. It wasn’t long before their tweet had collected dozens of negative comments, some from subscribers who said they were canceling their subscriptions. Someone at The Epoch Times was paying attention that morning, saw the push back, and deleted the tweet.
That was not the case with John Solomon, who published a similar article and tweet later that day.
House lawmakers draft bipartisan resolution condemning QAnon and its ‘conspiracy theories’ | Just The News
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) August 26, 2020
The above tweet was not published directly to Twitter but from the social media app Hootsuite. Whoever was in charge of Solomon’s account that day seems to have sent the tweet without checking to see how it was being received on Twitter. The rest of the day, his account was bombarded with negative comments from Q followers who would normally be supportive of him but had suddenly turned against him. While this event was worthy of an article, the reporter Solomon hired to write it chose to regurgitate the same talking points the mainstream media had been printing for two years. The article read like every other MSM hit piece, and anons were having none of it.
These interactions illustrate a conundrum for conservatives on social media. Since the press put Q in the spotlight, anyone with a large following faces the difficult task of deciding how (or whether) to publicly express their view of Qanon.
I don’t claim to speak for the movement, but I can provide a few insights that are shared by some Q followers. We have a common bond of unity that transcends race, gender, religion, economic status, and nationality. Unlike cults and activist groups, we do not endorse group-think. We value freedom of thought. Black Lives Matter wants everyone to embrace their ideology; Q followers want everyone to think for themselves.
We do not expect conservatives to support our view of Q. All we ask if you don’t share our view is that you leave us alone. Personally, if you happen to provide unique insights on social media that are helpful to my followers, I’ll share them. But if you join the mainstream media and attack us, you can expect us to respond with memes and negative comments on your social media posts. If you regularly attack Q, you’ll be praised by the media, but you’ll be unfollowed by anons. (This isn’t a threat. It’s an assessment of a current social media phenomenon.)
If you’re still on the fence about Q, check out the latest pics of General Flynn. It seems the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency doesn’t know he’s following a violent, baseless, delusional conspiracy theory.
WHERE WE GO ONE, WE GO ALL! pic.twitter.com/HaUwhOJuhH
— ENoCH (@elenochle) September 6, 2020