Watch CBS News

"It was a drug": Capitol riot exposes reach of QAnon disinformation

Concerns over QAnon's impact on politics
Growing concerns over QAnon's impact on politics 02:03

Democrats this week called for the expulsion of first-term Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for repeating anti-Semitic tropes and amplifying dangerous – and discredited – QAnon conspiracy theories.

False allegations of mass election fraud — disinformation that Greene perpetuated — helped fuel the deadly Capitol insurrection.

"President Trump did not cause the attack on the Capitol on January 6th," Greene said at a town hall on January 28.

For his part, former President Trump has sidestepped QAnon, claiming he knows little about a movement at the core of his support.

"I've heard these are people that love our country," Mr. Trump said in August 2020.

Congress Holds Joint Session To Ratify 2020 Presidential Election
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fly a U.S. flag with a symbol from the group QAnon as they gather outside the U.S. Capitol January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Win McNamee / Getty Images

Disinformation reached new heights in 2020. A recent study showed Facebook users interacted with deceptive posts more than 1 billion times in October, November and December — about twice the total leading up to the 2016 election. 

"That even when people were increasing their news consumption overall online, their consumption of the set of information from the deceptive sites was even greater," said Karen Kornbluh,  who leads German Marshall Fund's Digital New Deal project.

The QAnon world is rooted in a belief Mr. Trump can save society from a cabal of Democratic pedophiles running a global child trafficking ring.

"It was a drug. It was absolutely a drug," said Jitarth Jideja, a former QAnon believer who said he lost almost two years of his life to the cult.

"You should be really scared, these guys are dangerous. they're more dangerous than white supremacists," Jideja said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.