Path 3: Into the shadows
QAnon itself is a fairly radical and extreme belief system, but as followers come to terms with its failed Inauguration Day prophecy, they become vulnerable to being drawn into even more extreme groups, such as white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
It’s clear from online posts that these groups believe disillusioned Q followers are ripe for radicalization, and they may be right. The anxiety and loss of community some Q believers may feel can make them more vulnerable to believing radical ideas. Combine this with the fact that anti-Semitism was already heavily seeded throughout the Q conspiracy, and that many Q followers have recently migrated to fringe social media platforms like Telegram, Gab and Parler — platforms far-right extremists have colonized for years — and you’ve got a recipe for radicalization.
“Now there’s not really anyone with a different political opinion on these apps, they’re acting as an echo chamber, and general conservatives who weren’t used to this are now being shown certain belief sets,” said Sam Collins, another former Q believer. “It’s quite scary to me.”
Far-right extremists are all too happy to share a different worldview that offers a new target for their anger and frustration as well as a new online camaraderie. If even just a small percentage of Q followers wind up “red pilled,” as the so-called alt-right calls its indoctrination, it could lead to more violence. In fact, these groups are banking on it.