No Calm in the Storm: Investigating QAnon Website Relationships

Authors

  • Hans W. A. Hanley Stanford University
  • Deepak Kumar Stanford University
  • Zakir Durumeric Stanford University

Keywords:

Social network analysis; communities identification; expertise and authority discovery, Credibility of online content, Trend identification and tracking; time series forecasting, Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media

Abstract

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory whose followers largely organize online. In this work, we use web crawls seeded from two of the largest QAnon hotbeds on the Internet, Voat and 8kun, to build a QAnon-centered domain-based hyperlink graph. We use this graph to identify, understand, and learn about the set of websites that spread QAnon content online. Specifically, we curate the largest list of QAnon centered websites to date, from which we document the types of QAnon sites, their hosting providers, as well as their popularity. We further analyze QAnon websites' connection to mainstream news and misinformation online, highlighting the outsized role misinformation websites play in spreading the conspiracy. Finally, we leverage the observed relationship between QAnon and misinformation sites to build a highly accurate random forest classifier that distinguishes between misinformation and authentic news sites. Our results demonstrate new and effective ways to study the growing presence of conspiracy theories and misinformation on the Internet.

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Published

2022-05-31

How to Cite

Hanley, H. W. A., Kumar, D., & Durumeric, Z. (2022). No Calm in the Storm: Investigating QAnon Website Relationships. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 16(1), 299-310. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/19293