The coming of the storm: moral panics, social media and regulation in the QAnon era

The presidency of Donald Trump was marked by a period of populist and sometimes extremist right-wing policies and rhetoric, and an escalation of ‘culture wars’ between the left and right in politics and society. He also gained the devoted support of numerous right-wing and so-called alt-right groups, such as QAnon, a conspiracy theory group that first emerged in 2017. This paper takes the novel approach of exploring the existence of a moral panic having formed around the activities of QAnon itself. I suggest that the current regulatory discourses around QAnon are flawed, with insufficient attention being paid to a wider range of extremist groups in assessing how to regulate extremist speech and action.

Tags: alt-right, Donald Trump, QAnon