For years, believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory had been waiting for the moment when a grand plan would be put into action and secret members of a supposed Satanic pedophilia ring at the highest ranks of government and Hollywood would suddenly be exposed, rounded up and possibly even publicly executed. They were nearly always sure it was right around the corner, but “The Storm” never came — and the moment of Joe Biden’s inauguration was the last possible opportunity for President Donald Trump to put the plan in motion.
While Joe Biden´s inauguration meant the start of a brighter episode for the United States, QAnon followers lived the event as a confusing and chaotic signal. Now for many of them, their conspiracy dream is over.
The believers of this conspiracy theory had been expecting a grand plan would unfold and secret members of a supposed Satanic pedophilia ring at the government and Hollywood would be exposed. They call it “The Storm” and the moment of Biden’s inauguration was the last possible opportunity for President Donald Trump to put the plan in motion.
But as Biden became President and swore an oath to defend the Constitution, no “storm” developed.
As it was reported by CNN, the anti-climax sent QAnon adherents into a frenzy of confusion and disbelief, almost instantly shattering a collective delusion that had been nurtured and amplified by many on the far right.
After Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) cracked down on QAnon-related content, QAnon believers focused Telegram channel, and some users of the image board 4chan, vowed to keep the faith. Others proclaimed they were renouncing their beliefs. Still, others devised new theories that purported to push the ultimate showdown further into the future.
One of the ideology’s most visible icons, Ron Watkins, who goes by the online moniker CodeMonkeyZ , told supporters to “go back to our lives.”
Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks extremist groups and misinformation online said that most hardcore QAnon followers are in disarray. “After years of waiting for the ‘Great Awakening,’ QAnon adherents seemed genuinely shocked to see President Biden successfully inaugurated. A significant percentage online are writing that they are now done with the QAnon, while others are doubling down and promoting new conspiracies.”
The baseless conspiracy theory has been circulating since 2017. In addition to alleging a vast child-trafficking conspiracy, those who were drawn in claim that government bureaucrats comprising a “deep state” were quietly working to undermine President Donald Trump’s agenda. Trump himself fueled the claims by refusing to publicly denounce them on national television.
Now, some began accepting the truth. “Biden is our president,” a user in the Telegram channel said. “It’s time to get off our devices and get back to reality. If something happens then something happens, but for now, I’m logging out of all social media. It’s been fun guys but it’s unfortunately over.”