How America Is Exporting the QAnon Conspiracy [Content Made Simple]

Issue #183: Pay attention to social media beyond the content you consume.



The U.S. used to be the target of misinformation. Now we export it.



The QAnon conspiracy is picking up steam abroad, particularly in Europe, where populist movements are on the rise.

Why it matters: "The U.S. has started exporting these domestic-in-origin conspiracy movements to the outside world, "says Zarine Kharazian, Assistant Editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.

  • "Instead of being the target for a lot of disinformation, the U.S. has become the exporter of a lot of it.”


I’ve been reading a lot on QAnon and how social media has been the primary place it spreads. It’s pretty amazing (and scary) how quickly this is spreading and how pervasive it has become.


Social Qs #015: What Do We Think About Antitrust and Monopolies in Social Media?

Last week, four of the most powerful men in the world virtually appeared before Congress and testified about why they are not monopolies. We discuss whether or not we think they are and other things.


Link #1: 3 Questions to Ask to See if You Should Tackle Trending Topics

This post is a helpful reflection on a common question content creators have.

The key to creating trending content is making sure the topic can lift your content enough in the short term to make creating it worth your time and resources.

You need enough time to 1) create the content 2) promote the content and 3) benefit from the sharing/viewership. All three things must happen while the topic is still trending.

Link #2: The U.S. Is Now Playing by China’s Internet Rules

Helpful perspective.

President Trump's crackdown on TikTok suggests that the U.S. government is starting to see the internet more like China does — as a network that countries can and should control within their borders.

The big picture: Today's global internet has split into three zones, according to many observers: The EU's privacy-focused network; China's government-dominated network; and the U.S.-led network dominated by a handful of American companies. TikTok's fate suggests China's model has U.S. fans as well.

Why it matters: As the global internet splinters further, the U.S. and China look set to enter a Cold War-style battle for the hearts and minds of global users and developing nations. In this fight, U.S. nationalism may make a weaker case to the world than the ideal of internet freedom and open networks that the U.S. once evangelized.

Link #3: Be a “Great Noticer”

Be like Lewis Mumford.

Many of us, I fear, do not use social media, but rather, we are used by social media. When we let the goings-on in our Facebook or Twitter or Instagram worlds determine our steps and engross our minds, we find ourselves subservient to the very tools we created. Like time-servers to a clock, we are beholden to the algorithm. It has sucked us in and we cannot escape its allure. Our brains have been hijacked.

Most people who use social media merely use it for its content: to watch funny videos or engage in heated debate. Be a great noticer! Examine social media beyond its content. How does it work? What rhythms is it introducing into your life? How has it come to rule you like the clock has come to rule us all?


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