Reprinted with permission from Alternet
QAnon believes are known for circulating misinformation campaigns but now it appears they have been duped by fraudsters on social media.
According to The Daily Beast, impersonators of former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump managed to dupe QAnon believes who flocked to the private social media platform Telegram after more than 70,000 QAnon believers were exiled from mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Due to Telegram's end-to-end encryption capability, users have a better chance of having conversations without them being screenshotted or made public which would likely serve as an advantage of right-wing extremists. In a matter of days, QAnon believers were joined by prominent right-wing conservatives and they thought they'd finally found a platform they could use to get their message across.
The publication reports:
Many of the Telegram newcomers found that some of MAGAworld's biggest stars had joined them. Donald Trump himself was on the app, amassing more than 200,000 followers within a few days. So was Melania Trump, posting herself to Telegram as "Lady Melania Trump." Air Force General John Hyten joined the app and began issuing cryptic, QAnon-style pronouncements that thrilled believers eager to see President Joe Biden arrested and Trump returned to power.
However, things did not work out in QAnon believers' favor. All of the accounts claiming to be top members of Trumpworld were fake.
In addition to the fake Trump family accounts, the publication reports that the top, fake account belonged to a hoaxer impersonating former Air Force general Lt. Gen Tom McInerney, who has emerged as a conspiracy theorist who frequently appears on Alex Jones's InfoWars show. McInerney, a highly influential right-wing voice, also contributed to the birther conspiracy Trump pushed about former President Barack Obama.
Although McInerney confirmed back in January that the fake account was not his, that has not stopped it from garnering more than 158,000 followers on the strength of the real former general's reputation. While the publication notes that the account holder does not appear to have ulterior motives, there are still concerns about the rise of fake accounts on social media platforms. Now, some QAnon believers are also wondering about the reason behind the fake accounts.
"Someone somewhere is trying to mind f**k us," QAnon believer Jordan Sather said in a Telegram post.
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