The FBI assessment of QAnon found that some of the members are likely to move from online activity to acts of violence and domestic terror.
The FBI wrote in its assessment:
We assess that some DVE adherents of QAnon likely will begin to believe they can no longer “trust the plan” referenced in QAnon posts and that they have an obligation to change from serving as “digital soldiers” towards engaging in real world violence—including harming perceived members of the “cabal” such as Democrats and other political opposition—instead of continually awaiting Q’s promised actions which have not occurred.
Other QAnon adherents likely will disengage from the movement or reduce their involvement in the wake of the administration change. This disengagement may be spurred by the large mainstream social media deplatforming of QAnon content based on social media companies’ own determinations that users have violated terms of service, and the failure of long-promised QAnon-linked events to materialize.
Some DVEs have discussed how to radicalize new users to niche social media platforms following QAnon adherents’ migration to these platforms after large scale removals of QAnon content from mainstream sites. Adherence to QAnon by some DVEs likely will be affected by factors such as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the level of societal polarization in the United States, social media companies’ willingness to host QAnon-related content on their sites, and the frequency and content of pro-QAnon statements by public individuals who feature prominently in core QAnon narratives.
There were dozens of QAnon cultists arrested at the Capitol attack. Not every QAnon believer is going to transform into a violent domestic terrorist, but QAnon with Republican encouragement is growing into a radicalized movement that calls for the overthrow of the US government and military coups.
QAnon seems wacky, but the threat is real, and the FBI is warning that it is only a matter of time before the conspiracy theory inspires more violence.
Read the full FBI assessment:
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association