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A network-based approach to QAnon user dynamics during COVID-19 infodemic

by   Wentao Xu, et al.
Tokyo Institute of Technology

QAnon is an umbrella conspiracy theory that encompasses a wide spectrum of people. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped raise QAnon conspiracy theory to a wide-spreading movement, especially in the US. Here, we study users' dynamics on Twitter related to the QAnon movement (i.e., pro-/anti-QAnon and swing users) in the context of the COVID-19 infodemic and the topics involved using a network-based approach. We find that it is not easy for swing users to convert their attitudes, although Twitter is suspending malicious pro-QAnon users as much as possible. We also find that QAnon clusters include many bot users. Furthermore, our results suggest that QAnon continues to evolve amid the infodemic and does not limit itself to its original idea, but instead, extends its reach to create a much larger umbrella conspiracy theory. A network-based approach in this study is important for both nowcasting and forecasting the evolution of the QAnon movement.


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