QAnon is Resurgent on Twitter

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter

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May 4th, 2020

Data compiled by the ADL Center on Extremism (COE) shows that QAnon-related content has surged on Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform last fall.

QAnon is a decentralized, far-right political movement rooted in a baseless conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles known as the “Deep State,” which can only be stopped by former President Trump, and that these individuals will be brought to justice during a violent day of reckoning known as “the Storm.” QAnon-linked beliefs have inspired violent acts and have eroded trust in democratic institutions and the electoral process.

Between May 2022 and May 2023, tweets including QAnon-related hashtags increased by 91 percent, compared to the year prior. More than 103,000 of those mentions were posted between November 2022 and May 2023—meaning that more than 74 percent of tweets containing QAnon-related hashtags were posted in the last six months alone, shortly after Musk’s takeover of Twitter in late October 2022. Examples of the hashtags in question include #WWG1WGA, #NothingCanStopWhatIsComing, #TheStormIsUponUs and #QArmy.

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter

Above: Twitter mentions which included QAnon-related hashtags from May 1, 2022, to May 1, 2023.


Between May 2022 and May 2023, ADL also observed an uptick in tweets linking to Q drop aggregator sites, external websites that compile Q’s posts. Over the course of that year, tweets linking directly to Q drop aggregators increased by 177 percent.  

These increases may be a sign that the conspiracy theory is regaining traction on Twitter following changes to the platform’s policies under Musk.

On May 5, ADL notified Twitter of our research into the resurgence of QAnon content on the platform. As of this writing, Twitter does not appear to have taken any action.

Before Musk took control over Twitter, the company had taken steps to ban QAnon content from its platform. Immediately following the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Twitter purged over 70,000 QAnon-linked accounts from the site. Research conducted by ADL in January 2021 found that use of QAnon-related hashtags had plunged 73 percent following this mass removal. Notably, Twitter’s policy for “coordinated harmful behavior”—which was updated after January 6 as part of this purge and specifically referenced QAnon—has been removed from Twitter’s website as of April 2023, according to

Reinstatement of QAnon influencers

Since December 2022, after their accounts were reinstated under Twitter’s new general amnesty policy, several prominent QAnon promoters have returned to Twitter. This includes major influencers like Jeffrey Pedersen (aka “intheMatrixxx”), Jordan Sather, David Hayes (aka “Praying Medic”), Zak Paine (aka “RedPill78”), Mel Q, and Jacob Creech (aka “Clandestine), among others. Since their reinstatements, these users have used their accounts to share and discuss Q drops and promote a wide range of conspiracy theories.

For example, Jeffrey Pedersen, who has over 178,000 Twitter followers, has shared Q drops repeatedly since his account was reinstated in March 2023. Pedersen has also used Twitter’s broadcast feature to livestream “MG Show,” an online broadcast that he co-hosts with Shannon Townsend (aka “ShadyGrooove” [sic]), during which they frequently discuss Q drops and promote various conspiracy theories.

In March 2023, a viral tweet from QAnon promoter “Vincent Kennedy” helped fuel a conspiracy theory that diaper brand Huggies supported pedophilia. On March 20, Kennedy tweeted, “Once you [sic] truly awake you ain’t going back to sleep,” along with a photo of a Lion King-themed Huggies diaper that included circular and triangle-like symbols, which he had circled.

While Kennedy’s tweet was not explicit, it alluded to Pizzagate and QAnon-linked claims that these symbols are references to pedophilia, and it quickly spread on Twitter and other platforms, resulting in Huggies responding to Kennedy in a tweet to refute the pedophilia claims. Kennedy’s tweet, which remains up as of May 15, has been viewed more than 5.4 million times. 

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter


In March 2023, Lt. General Michael Flynn, who has previously expressed support for QAnon-linked conspiracy theories, shared a video that claims former president John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech warning against the dangers of the Soviet Union was actually warning about the “Khazarian Mafia.” The video includes a graphic melding QAnon conspiracies about satanic, blood drinking pedophiles with the classic antisemitic belief that Jewish people are the leaders of a secret society (Khazarian Mafia) that controls the world. Conspiracy theories about the Khazarian mafia have become increasingly popular among the QAnon community over the past year, due largely to the war in Ukraine. 

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter


Musk’s interactions with QAnon promoters

While Musk has never explicitly expressed support for QAnon, he has repeatedly interacted with QAnon promoters on the platform, such as “Kanekoa The Great” and Ron Watkins. While Musk may be unaware of their QAnon ties, QAnon supporters interpret Musk’s interactions with Kanekoa and other QAnon promoters as a signal that he supports their views, a dangerous precedent when one considers the importance of Twitter in QAnon lore.

Around May 5, Musk “subscribed” to “Kanekoa The Great,” a QAnon supporter turned “citizen journalist” who has repeatedly spread misinformation about the 2020 election and Covid-19. Subscriptions are a new, paid Twitter feature that allows followers to help users earn money on Twitter and gain access to exclusive/bonus content and other perks.

Musk has interacted with Kanekoa repeatedly, replying to his tweets at least 57 times since December 2022. These replies, which reach anywhere from 650,000 to over 14 million users, have helped boost Kanekoa’s profile, lending him—and the false and misleading claims he promotes—further legitimacy.

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter

Musk’s reply to Kanekoa about the Allen, TX shooter, in which he questioned reports that the shooter espoused white supremacist beliefs, has been viewed over 1.7 million times (Note: Kanekoa has since deleted his tweet). Source: Twitter


Musk’s interactions with these accounts, regardless of intent, could lend a perception of credibility or support. QAnon supporters view Twitter as a “digital battlefield” where they can wage war against the “false narratives” they perceive are being promoted by the mainstream media, and they believe it is the place where Trump will signal the beginning of “the Storm.”

QAnon is Resurgent on Musk-Era Twitter

Above: Response to Kanekoa on Twitter celebrating Elon’s amplification, saying, “WE ARE THE NEWS NOW!” Source: Twitter


The resurgence of QAnon accounts and content on Twitter is extremely concerning, as it has broadened the QAnon community’s reach, enabling them to reach a more mainstream audience and potentially recruit new believers.