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Grandmothers and QAnon on Facebook

(65 Posts)
janeainsworth Mon 28-Sep-20 08:12:39

A researcher from York University believes that ‘British grannies’ are helping to spread QAnon conspiracy theories on Facebook........

PamelaJ1 Mon 28-Sep-20 09:29:22

Well not me. I don’t even know what a QAnon is. I don’t think I can be bothered to find out either.

Should I?

MaizieD Mon 28-Sep-20 09:43:58

I think that anyone who doesn't know what QAnon is should find out from a reputable source PDQ because it a menace.

Basically it is a conspiracy theory based movement which has attracted to it all the cranky theories flying around at the moment. Things like climate change denial, anti vaxxers, anti maskers, anti 5Gers, covid is a scam, the world is run by an elite paedophile ring, or lizards... It also seems to attract white supremacists. You know the sort of thing...

And if you're a QAnon believer you desperately need help...

MaizieD Mon 28-Sep-20 09:44:59

P.S. Meant to say you should find out so that you don't get sucked into it unawares.

janeainsworth Mon 28-Sep-20 09:56:21

I was quite pleased that the comments denouncing the ageism & sexism implicit in the article seemed to come mainly from men.
Yes Pamela you should find out about QAnon and guard against it as Maizie says.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 28-Sep-20 09:57:20

Watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix.

That will get you right up to speed with the world of social media, conspiracy theories and AI.

Very worrying indeed

MawB2 Mon 28-Sep-20 10:00:20

There are indeed some bonkers conspiracy theories about and I can see how perhaps “gullible” elderly people who use social media might well be part of the spread.
I have read a few “theories “ even in this place in the past which have raised my eyebrows - Covid related and anti-vaxx among them.

Elegran Mon 28-Sep-20 10:30:32

Some grannies are gullible, naive and easily panicked by scare stories. So are some younger people!

Most of the members of Gransnet are able to apply common sense and logic to the rubbish that clogs up social networking sites - we just have to call out any nonsense we see and point people to the many sources of genuine facts about the "conspiracies".
Trouble is, it has been demonstrated again and again that false information spreads much faster than the truth, and the refutations are treated with more suspicion than the sensational rumours.

MaizieD Mon 28-Sep-20 10:37:07

Of course, the Facebook algorithm is designed to give you more of what you 'like' or share. (I believe that YouTube is similar). So once you're in the loop it's very hard to get out again and your beliefs are constantly reinforced.

EllanVannin Mon 28-Sep-20 10:42:50

Crackpots in other words---the world's full of them grin

Elegran Mon 28-Sep-20 10:43:03

I've just read a very good (and very readable) book on the subject. It came out just before the coronavirus pandemic, so doesn't mention it, but it explains a lot of the history and the science of the spread of all sorts of things, how both physical and virtual viruses, and memes of other kinds move through populations, from folk stories and financial crises to gun violence and misinformation. Some background tales about researchers and research into the subject, too.

"The rules of contagion - why things spread, and why they stop." by Adam Kucharsky. (The Kindle version only cost me £4.27)

Callistemon Mon 28-Sep-20 10:44:16


P.S. Meant to say you should find out so that you don't get sucked into it unawares.

I found out after you'd mentioned it on another thread, MaizieD.
I hadn't heard of it and haven't seen anything on FB but I have very few FB 'friends' and my privacy and 'likes' settings are high.

It's a good idea to check an update them.

Callistemon Mon 28-Sep-20 10:49:26

I haven't read it all, just skimmed it, but this caught my eye

For one woman that meant sharing conspiracy theories from Mama Wolf, one of the Facebook accounts circulating QAnon content
The name sounded familiar.

Alegrias Mon 28-Sep-20 10:56:10

There was an interesting article about QAnon in the Sunday Herald yesterday. One school of thought is that it started from one single posting, that just grew and grew. There is also a possibility that it was a "joke" posting, but that people actually believed it. I might try and get hold of the book you mention elegran, it sounds interesting.

Regarding blaming grannies, I don't agree with that. But a couple of months ago a rather elderly friend of mine joined Facebook. She then went on to post all of the memes and scare stories from the last few years (yes, years) that most of us have seen and discounted. There is something deep in all these stories that makes people think they are doing the right thing by sharing them.

annodomini Mon 28-Sep-20 11:18:28

Very interesting and rather depressing to think how many people are gullible enough to believe such far-fetched nonsense. Isn't it strange that some would believe we are ruled by lizards at the same time as believing that Covid19 is a hoax?

Starblaze Mon 28-Sep-20 11:24:19

I feel really sorry for people who believe all the untruth posts that go around. I don't know why anyone would want to stir up so much upset and bad feelingin the first place.

Some people get very angry if you point out fake things though because they want to believe it so, that doesn't help.

You can report fake posts to Facebook, they will take it down if it isn't true. Seems the best way to go.

Alexa Mon 28-Sep-20 11:27:36

Yes, it's our duty to try our best to stop the spread of this dangerous and evil idea. We should engage in internet discussions whenever possible e.g. on Facebook, and try to persuade misguided persons that they could be better than to support bad ideas.

Furret Mon 28-Sep-20 12:12:31

“When I looked at what other content these women were sharing, I found memes about ........ anti-Black Lives Matter protests, anti-BBC proms and content in favour of Brexit”

Quote from OP article! Sound familiar?

growstuff Mon 28-Sep-20 14:13:56

One of the conspiracies peddled by QAnon is that there's a global child abuse racket and that Trump is fighting it. If you look at some of the footage from the Trafalgar Square protests, you'll see people holding placards about child abuse. Sometimes, there's a Q on the placard, but I think it's got to the point now where people don't realise the origin of the conspiracy.

The conspiracy is absolute nonsense, but child abuse and concern about it isn't. So QAnon hooks people in with memes about child abuse. Other groups, including Britain First, have done the same thing with animal welfare.

Most people are appalled at child abuse and cruelty to animals, so these groups create spam of pictures showing cruelty and people "like" the posts. Before they know it, they've been put on the list to receive further communications from conspiracy and far right groups.

I have no idea what the demographic of conspiracy theories is, but there have certainly been a couple on GN. I don't think anywhere is immune.

JenniferEccles Mon 28-Sep-20 14:27:00

That name certainly is familiar, isn’t it Callistemon ?!!

Slightly different spelling though.

Interesting 🤔

Callistemon Mon 28-Sep-20 14:33:08

Yes, it's quite unusual isn't it.

JenniferEccles Mon 28-Sep-20 14:37:50

It is. Of course it could be a coincidence but.....
Thanks for sharing that.

Cherrytree59 Mon 28-Sep-20 15:01:58

Humans are by their very nature gullible.

Throughout history stories
(folklore) have passed between families and friends.

Werewolf, Witches, Evil spirits etc .

Ceasers and Kings have gone to war on the back a carefully placed whisper here or there.

Chinese whispers or just made up fake news has been around since time immemorial

In our recent history,
Hitler via his speeches and writings convinced thousands that there was a master race and racial purity.

Sadily social media perpetuates questionable ideology with a click of a button.

Spangler Mon 28-Sep-20 15:13:51

How life passes me by. You will be telling me next that the earth is not flat.

GillT57 Mon 28-Sep-20 15:55:27

I was wondering about raising my concerns about QAnon on here, and wasn't sure that people would believe me. My darling goddaughter has got sucked into it, she now believes all this stuff about the paedophile ring, the child sacrifices to drink their blood ( yes, honestly), there is a list of people who visited Epstein's island and they are now all condemned as being part of his ghastly abuses. She believes that Covid19 is fake and invented to keep us locked up in our homes, and is a strong anti-vaxxer. I tried, politely, and gently, to discuss it with her on FB, warning her that some of the accusations she was making about people were slanderous, she just said that she had 'done her research' and that it was there if you knew where to look, and that we were all being fooled. I asked her, as politely as I could, why she was so special that she knew these things, but as always when you question anyone who has fallen down this particular rabbit hole, she just said that I was being fooled. She has unfriended many people on FB who dared to question her. For all of you who think this is none of your concern, it is believe me. This is a terrifying, anti-semitic movement which has potential to do great damage, cause social unrest and be very damaging to people's mental health. On a lighter note, the main reason why this is all a load of nonsense is that these people believe that Trump (!) has been sent to tackle this and is the saviour.