What can the spread of QAnon from the US to Europe teach us about tackling disinformation and understanding countries’ vulnerabilities to viral conspiracy theories. Lighthouse Reports and Bellingcat have documented the spread of the QAnon to seven target countries in Europe, building a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the phenomenon. What can this experience tell us about the value of having an evidence base of local QAnon networks and narratives? How can data science support reporting on conspiracies and how can tools like Telegram scrapers be useful for analysis?
While many analysts expected the conspiracy to end when Q went silent, the movement has remained active, compared in some quarters to a viral epidemic and in others to a religion. Europe’s experience of QAnon holds important lessons for journalists, policy-makers and anyone working to counter the effects of disinformation.