QAnon posts are now dominating Facebook’s daily ‘top ten,' while Youtube is unwittingly allowing the peddlers of satanic pedophile pizza conspiracy theories to monetize small fortunes.  

The fundamental lie about billionaire tech founders like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and the Google gang is that they’re wealthy because of their deep understanding of technological platforms. The reality is that bad players and hostile foreign actors understand those platforms better than the inventors do, or at least, how to manipulate and monetize those platforms while those top executives make worthless symbolic gestures and investor-speak excuses.

A number of journalistic exposés are surfacing this week on the topic of QAnon, a whackadoodle grand conspiracy theory that’s surged in popularity over the last six months, alleging that a widespread satanic pedophile ring dominated by Democrats is secretly running the world, and Trump is going to expose the whole thing any day now with the help of former president John F. Kennedy, who faked his own assassination 56 years ago.

The New York Times had a piece yesterday positing that QAnon may be the most dangerous conspiracy of the 21st Century. Axios broke down the numbers to find that QAnon searches on Google had increased tenfold in 2020 (peaking at the end of July, thanks to a campaign claiming that Wayfair was hiding abducted children in the furniture they sold), that tweets with popular QAnon hashtags have increased 190% sice March, and that QAnon Facebook pages are getting ten times the number of Likes than they were a year ago this time.

Not bad for a group that the FBI classifies as a domestic terrorism threat.

The lengthy tweet thread above from Times writer Kevin Roose unpacks Tuesday’s daily Facebook top ten posts (Nine from conservative political sites, one from a left-wing site) to show how this is not just a Republican skill at getting Likes and shares. It’s actually a coordinated effort where half of those posts are pushing exact the same AP news article about a fairly pedestrian Justice Department grant to aid human trafficking victims that Roose calls a “QAnon bat signal.”

“They're using the story as more evidence that Trump is breaking up a child-trafficking cabal run by Democrats,” he says further in the thread. “This is also why ‘banning QAnon’ isn't really possible. It's in the bloodstream. Right-wing influencers know they'll get huge engagement on posts about child trafficking, etc., and they can post them without fear of being censored. (Because, after all, it's just a news story.)"

Sure, Facebook “removed 5 Pages, 20 Facebook accounts, and 6 Groups” that were “associated with the QAnon network” in late April, and Twitter did a far more extensive 7,000 QAnon account ban in July. But these are reactive moves instead of proactive moves, and the Q’s have also figured out how to monetize the platforms. An Atlantic report in June pointed out that “There’s also money to be made from ads on YouTube,” where popular QAnon video producers make bank with ads from mainstream companies like Nike, Apple, and VRBO.

Anyone with new age, spirituality type friends knows that QAnon is also catching on with the yoga and meditation community. More dishearteningly, its proponents are also running for elected office, as Media Matters finds 15 QAnon supporters have made the November congressional ballot, five in California. So despite the movements disdain for the “lamestream” media, social media is QAnon’s best friend for actually becoming mainstream.

Related: Conspiracy Theorists Now Promoting Rumor That George Floyd Didn't Die On YouTube and Twitter [SFist]

Image: 20th Century Fox Television