Video Summit: The New Attention Economy with Instagram, Yubo & Tech Buzz China. RSVP NOW
Photos by Bloomberg; Shutterstock. Illustration by Mike Sullivan
The Takeaway

I Helped Uncover QAnon. Failed Prophecies Won’t Kill It

Photo: Photos by Bloomberg; Shutterstock. Illustration by Mike Sullivan

I first stumbled upon the collective delusion we now refer to as QAnon in November 2017, just a few weeks after it began as a series of conspiratorial posts on one of the internet’s more untamed bulletin boards.

In a sprawling discussion thread on 4chan titled “Calm Before the Storm”—a reference to a quote from the prior month by then-President Donald Trump—an anonymous commenter claiming to be a government insider with top-secret clearance posted cryptic messages about Trump’s top-secret plans to stage a countercoup against members of the deep state. What later became a movement didn’t even have a name at that time or much of a unified message, and it had almost completely eluded mainstream media coverage.

Still, something about the messages unnerved me. At the time, I was writing about internet culture for New York Magazine’s now-defunct tech blog, Select All, and part of my nightly routine involved scanning some of the most unsavory corners of the internet to see what folks on the fringes were up to. (I don’t recommend doing this if you want to have a healthy relationship with sleep.)

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
Exclusive Microsoft Google
Zoom Executives Have Discussed an Expansion Into Contact Center Market
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan. Photo by Bloomberg
Zoom Video Communications’ pockets are full of cash after a $2 billion secondary offering of its shares last month. But where will it spend the money? One possibility: an acquisition of one or more companies in the contact center market, a fast-growing software business that helps companies field customer service requests through phone, email, text message, social media and video. Over...
Latest Briefs
Stripe Hires Former Google PR Exec as Comms Chief
Cisco Taps Former AWS Exec to Lead Webex Sales
Twitter Aims to Double Revenue by 2023
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Katana's Kristjan Vilosius (from left to right), Priit Kaasik and Hannes Kert. Photo provided by Katana
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
As Shopify Surges, So Are the Software Startups Riding Its Coattails
Shopify’s stock has more than quadrupled since shoppers began flocking at the start of the pandemic to the online stores of the smaller merchants Shopify serves.
An image from the upcoming Disney movie 'Soul'. Photo courtesy of Disney
Data Reveals 40% of Disney+ Subscribers Are in the U.S.
Disney’s flagship video-streaming service, Disney+, has quickly emerged as the only true competitor to Netflix, signing up nearly 100 million subscribers globally after 15 months, about half as many as Netflix has accumulated after a decade.
Art by Mike Sullivan
Opinion Policy Google
Data Is the New Sand
The metaphors we use are like a map. They can guide us or lead us astray. When British mathematician Clive Humby said “ Data is the new oil ” back in 2006, he meant that data, like oil, must be refined and transformed to make it into useful products and services.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Microsoft
Microsoft’s New Gig: A LinkedIn Freelancer Market Rivaling Upwork, Fiverr
LinkedIn is developing a new service called Marketplaces to let its 740 million users find and book freelancers, pitting it against publicly traded firms such as Upwork and Fiverr, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Aviatrix CEO Steve Mullaney. Photo provided by Aviatrix
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Cloud Startup Aviatrix Raises Round at Valuation Over $700 Million
A startup that helps companies avoid networking foul-ups when they run applications in the cloud is grabbing attention from investors.
Poshmark material at the Nasdaq in New York the day of its IPO last month. Photo by Bloomberg
IPO Pops Double in Size This Year, A Sign of Market Frothiness
As if there was any doubt, new data shows just how frothy this year’s market for tech initial public offerings is compared to past years.