QAnons Extreme Appeal and Social Media Pipeline Explained

Michelle Dione
8 min readJan 11, 2021
Washington, D.C. | U.S.A. — Jan 6th, 2021: Trump Initiated Riots at the Capitol: QAnon Shaman, Jake Angeli. Photo by Johnny Silvercloud

How can millions of Americans involve themselves in a modern-day cult such as QAnon, unite themselves with white nationalists, militia, and neo-nazis to stage a coup on the United States Capitol as they did on Jan 6?

The mainstream reports have been murky at best, making Q enthusiasts sound like delusional idiots while minimizing Q’s psychological warfare tactics to engage in cultural, social, and political mass manipulation. QAnon is a gateway to extremism without its participants realizing it. As someone who has been doing far-right extremism research since the 2016 election, I can tell you the best way to find the reasons is to go inside the extremist group’s lines of conversations to hear from themselves.

Pipeline of QAnon

To use a reference in describing QAnon, I went to a white nationalist’s YouTube channel, one that has over 200 thousand subscribers and a good size audience on Telegram. “Black Pilled” is the brand name of a content creator who goes by the name Devon Stack.

Stack made the video two years ago critical of QAnon despite his enthusiastic support of President Donald Trump. Many white nationalists who are more on the “Alt-Right” spectrum tend to look down on the “patriots” as necessary tools to align with despite their contempt of conspiracy theorists. White nationalists tend to be realists. In their ideology, they acknowledge the country was conquered by white men and believe rightfully so, that if they allow the country to become more diverse, white people will die out and become a minority that loses its power and control.

Trump’s patriots, on the other hand, hate being called racist and tend to prefer being lied to by a strong man like Trump rather than face the true nature of the country when it comes to race and religion. They thrive on nostalgia and symbolism.

Stacks breaks down QAnon more accurately than any journalist I’ve seen. In the YouTube video titled “Here’s the Thing About Q,” he describes how there are entire channels dedicated to Q (most have been deleted now) and thousands of merchandise being sold for it.
That number in merchandise may be meager in what the actual profit figures may be. You can search Amazon now and find a long list of QAnon merch. eBay just…

Michelle Dione

Journalist, Writer, Photog, Video. Oakland Based. Most known for filming viral “BBQ Becky” video, best known for exposing right-wing fascism. Also, I’m a witch.