Who is Q, the anonymous poster who kicked off the conspiracy-driven right-wing movement known as QAnon?
While there is still no definitive answer, a new study seems to back claims that there’s more than one person writing them and that there’s a “new Q” at work.
According to a by the text authentication company OrphAnalytics, a machine learning conducted on Q’s “drops” found that there are two different people responsible for Q’s postings, and they were working during completely separate timeframes.
The company’s technology is typically used to detect cases of plagiarism, document manipulation, and fraud. For this study, they used it to analyze 4,952 of Q’s posts, which is the total number of drops that’d been made when the study was conducted.
From that analysis, OrphAnalytics found a “distinct individual signature” in the style of the posts made on the imageboard, 4chan, between Oct. 28 and Dec. 1, 2017. When Q later moved to post on 8chan, a competing imageboard, it’s clear to OrphAnalytics that another individual took over writing for the Q account.
QAnon began as a far right-wing conspiracy theory and has since morphed into a mainstream movement, growing amid the COVID-19 lockdowns. Q’s followers believe that President Donald Trump is secretly battling a global satanic pedophile ring run by his political enemies, such as Hollywood elites and members of the Democratic Party.
Q, who remains anonymous, claims to be a high-ranking member of the Trump administration and shares “top secret information” with his supporters. QAnon followers digest each of Q’s postings and attempt to parse them for coded information.
In 2018, a report by tracked down three individuals who pushed the QAnon conspiracy in its earliest months, when Q was on 4chan. However, many who research, track, and report on QAnon believe that Jim Watkins, the current owner of 8kun (which known as 8chan until late 2019), is the man currently behind Q’s posts.
Fredrick Brennan, who founded 8chan in 2013, has previously that Jim Watkins is now Q and has been since the anonymous account moved from posting on 4chan to 8chan. Brennan believes the original “Q” is South African conspiracy theorist Paul Furber, an individual also named in the NBC News report. Brennan sold 8chan to Watkins in 2014 and worked with him until cutting ties with the site in 2016.
While the question of who Q remains unanswered, this new study provides even more evidence to back up the theory that there’s been more than one Q over the years.