Panic, pizza and mainstreaming the alt-right: A social media analysis of Pizzagate and the rise of the QAnon conspiracy

The conspiracy theory known as ‘Pizzagate’ gained a cult following on alt-right forums, ultimately prompting one believer to conduct a shooting on the pizzeria identified by online conspiracists. A thematic analysis of 767 tweets referencing Pizzagate selected from five key intervention points in this timeframe reveals several factors influencing Pizzagate’s continued appeal over a four-year period. The article examines how an online alt-right conspiracy collective, QAnon, weaponized Pizzagate as part of its overarching campaign to attract support for President Donald Trump and worked to establish the theory as a popular (albeit false) narrative within the contemporary political zeitgeist.

Tags: QAnon