QAnon, which supports far-right conspiracy theories, is ramping up its focus on COVID-19 vaccines.
In particular, the group is framing COVID-19 vaccines as bioweapons developed by a coalition of Big Pharma and government officials.
Pushed away from mainstream social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, QAnon adherents have taken to the encrypted instant messaging platform Telegram and the dark web. There, they allege that COVID-19 vaccines are causing scores of deaths and health complications.
QAnon and other similarly-minded groups are spreading conspiracy theories aimed to “create resistance to both the Covid vaccine and various public health measures intended to combat the spread of Covid,” concluded in a recent report from Rutgers and Network Contagion Research Institute.
The unprecedented speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were developed followed by a chaotic mass vaccination campaign played a role in stoking such conspiracy theories, the report authors concluded. That is, the ample questions surrounding the vaccination campaign enabled QAnon and others to insert a narrative involving “the sinister workings of powerful cabals of bad actors seeking power and domination,” the report concluded.
Mainstream social media sites have cracked down on misinformation related to vaccines, including claims that they contain toxic ingredients or modify recipients’ DNA.