No Calm in the Storm: Investigating QAnon Website Relationships

Published in 16th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2022), 2022

Recommended citation: Hanley, Hans W. A., Deepak Kumar, and Zakir Durumeric. "No Calm in The Storm: Investigating QAnon Website Relationships." Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. Vol. 16. 2022.

In this work, we use web crawls seeded from two of the largest QAnon hotbeds on the Internet, Voat and 8kun, to build a QAnon-centered domain-based hyperlink graph. We use this graph to identify, understand, and learn about the set of websites that spread QAnon content online. Specifically, we curate the largest list of QAnon centered websites to date, from which we document the types of QAnon sites, their hosting providers, as well as their popularity. We further analyze QAnon websites’ connection to mainstream news and misinformation online, highlighting the outsized role misinformation websites play in spreading the conspiracy. Finally, we leverage the observed relationship between QAnon and misinformation sites to build a highly accurate random forest classifier that distinguishes between misinformation and authentic news sites.

Short Recorded Talk