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Fact Check: Taking a closer look at Qanon

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -

You may have seen the hashtags ‘save our children’ and ‘save the children’ making the rounds online, but who is behind the movement?

Those hashtags are tied to a conspiracy-oriented group known as Qanon. They have a strong social media presence, but are the members of the group doing more harm than good?

Qanon is a group with no formal structure and according to NBC News a post by the user “Q” on a fringe and conspiracy-laden message board online started it all. That message board is known as “4Chan”.

The 2017 post claimed Hillary Clinton would be arrested because of her involvement in child sex trafficking. 

This is completely unfounded and false as Hillary Clinton has not been arrested. 

NBC News reports that one of the main themes among those associated with Qanon is that President Trump is fighting a secret battle against wealthy, powerful, and elite pedophiles involved in trafficking children. 

It doesn’t stop there, some associated with Qanon believe these child traffickers, from the highest levels of government and business, are actually eating children. Here is an excerpt NBC News has from a press conference with President Trump:

”The crux of theory is this belief you are secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something you are behind?” an NBC reporter asks Trump.

“Well I haven’t heard that. Is that so be a bad thing or good thing?” Trump responds.

Q-anon has been labeled a domestic terror threat by the FBI. 

“Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much,” the President says.

The ‘save our children’ and ‘save the children’ hashtags pushed around online by some associated with Qanon are aimed at fighting child abuse and trafficking, but these hashtags might be taking attention away from legitimate sources that fight trafficking such as savethechildren.org and polarisproject.org.

“If there is an online conspiracy and it generates hundreds or thousands of calls into the national human trafficking hotline, that can get in the way of survivors of trafficking calling the hotline,” Robert Beiser says. He is the Strategic Initiatives Director for Sex Trafficking for Polaris Project. Polaris is an organization that fights human trafficking.

Whether you support Qanon or not, before you back a theory, make sure there are facts to support it. Like in the case of “Pizzagate”, which is a conspiracy theory believed by Qanon members, that Comet Pizza in Washington DC is a hub for child sex trafficking.

There is no evidence to support that claim.

“In the case of the “Pizzagate” scandal, while there was someone who went into that business and fired a gun, we at the hotline never received any report from anyone with a personal connection to a trafficking victim or survivor in that case,” Beiser says.

Here are some ways to help fight child trafficking:

Support polarisproject.org

and savethechildren.org, which is not associated in anyway with q-anon

or contact law enforcement if you have a tip on possible child trafficking.

Links for more info on Qanon:

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/secret-message-board-drives-pizzagate-style-harassment-campaign-small-businesses-n903696

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/what-qanon-guide-conspiracy-theory-taking-hold-among-trump-supporters-n897271

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/how-three-conspiracy-theorists-took-q-sparked-qanon-n900531

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/fire-pizzagate-shop-reignites-conspiracy-theorists-who-find-home-facebook-n965956

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/qanon-looms-behind-nationwide-rallies-viral-hashtags-n1237722

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