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"Is it a Qoincidence?": A First Step Towards Understanding and Characterizing the QAnon Movement on Voat.co


Zannettou,  Savvas
Internet Architecture, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Papasavva, A., Blackburn, J., Stringhini, G., Zannettou, S., & De Cristofaro, E. (2020). "Is it a Qoincidence?": A First Step Towards Understanding and Characterizing the QAnon Movement on Voat.co. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.04885.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-89D2-1
Online fringe communities offer fertile grounds for users to seek and share
paranoid ideas fueling suspicion of mainstream news, and outright conspiracy
theories. Among these, the QAnon conspiracy theory has emerged in 2017 on
4chan, broadly supporting the idea that powerful politicians, aristocrats, and
celebrities are closely engaged in a global pedophile ring. At the same time,
governments are thought to be controlled by "puppet masters," as democratically
elected officials serve as a fake showroom of democracy.
In this paper, we provide an empirical exploratory analysis of the QAnon
community on Voat.co, a Reddit-esque news aggregator, which has recently
captured the interest of the press for its toxicity and for providing a
platform to QAnon followers. More precisely, we analyze a large dataset from
/v/GreatAwakening, the most popular QAnon-related subverse (the Voat equivalent
of a subreddit) to characterize activity and user engagement. To further
understand the discourse around QAnon, we study the most popular named entities
mentioned in the posts, along with the most prominent topics of discussion,
which focus on US politics, Donald Trump, and world events. We also use
word2vec models to identify narratives around QAnon-specific keywords, and our
graph visualization shows that some of QAnon-related ones are closely related
to those from the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and "drops" by "Q." Finally, we
analyze content toxicity, finding that discussions on /v/GreatAwakening are
less toxic than in the broad Voat community.