A scary reminder that it’s not just the algorithm that sends people down the QAnon rabbit hole – it’s the mechanisms of social media itself: likes, retweets, mentions, favourites; the whole gruesome need for validation.
What attracts Ms. Gilbert and many other people to QAnon isn’t just the content of the conspiracy theory itself. It’s the community and sense of mission it provides. New QAnon believers are invited to chat rooms and group texts, and their posts are showered with likes and retweets. They make friends, and are told that they are not lonely Facebook addicts squinting at zoomed-in paparazzi photos, but patriots gathering “intel” for a righteous revolution.
Nor are the converted just lonely bedroom males. They could be people you and I know, perfectly “normal” in their day-to-day life, with a normal bundle of thoughts, opinions and prejudices.