QAnon: Anonymous launches attempt to debunk conspiracy theory

"We have plans," the group says.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read
Person wears a Guy Fawkes mask which today is a trademark and symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous. 2012.

Someone wears a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol for Anonymous.

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Hacktivist group  Anonymous  issued a threat to QAnon conspiracy theorists on YouTube and Twitter, pledging Sunday to take down the pro-Trump movement and its creator Q.

In a 3-minute video, the group threatens to "wreck" QAnon, an online conspiracy theory that has jumped from the internet into real life, including the presence of followers waving "Q" signs at a Trump rally in Tampa Bay, Florida. Anonymous referenced the growing impact of the group in its video, which was punctuated with snippets of children's shows, saying it's worried there will be real-world repercussions from QAnon's activities.

"Someone is going to get hurt," an electronically altered voice says in the video. "So we have to put our foot down and start some shit with you all."

The QAnon Twitter account didn't immediately respond to a direct message seeking comment on Anonymous' threat.

Anonymous has a history of picking fights with governments and groups whose opinions and actions it disagrees with. The loose collective has targeted ISIS, the Church of Scientology and various corporations and governments in the past. In 2012, the group shut down the CIA's and UN's websites in 2012 and worked with WikiLeaks to publish stolen emails from the Stratfor, a global intelligence firm.

The new campaign comes as the QAnon conspiracy, which suggests President Donald Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller are working together to expose the alleged Deep State, gathers strength. The conspiracy theory started in October when a user going by the handle "Q" began posting to 4chan's /pol/ message board, a well-known gathering place for the far-right online. Q claimed to have insights about the US government's inner workings. 

The posts, particularly one reading "Calm Before the Storm," kicked off a conspiratorial domino fall that ties in everything from Trump, North Korea, Pizzagate, child sex tracking, and the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.

Anonymous publicized its video on Twitter, writing: "If you're against the psychological operation known as #QAnon, please share our press release far and wide! Follow hashtags #OpQ and #OpQAnon for the lulz! We are Anonymous."

"We have plans," Anonymous said in the video, which is more involved than many of its earlier videos and features Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. "We will not sit idly by while you take advantage of the misinformed and poorly educated."

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