Tech Sleuths: We Know Who 'Q' of QAnon Is

Two separate analyses suggest it's Ron Watkins of the US and Paul Furber of South Africa
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2022 9:07 AM CST
Who Is 'Q' of QAnon? Maybe 2 People
In this 2018 file photo, a protester holds a Q sign as he waits in line with others to enter a campaign rally for then-President Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The QAnon movement got its start in 2017 when somebody known as "Q" began posting conspiracy-laden messages online. Now, two independent teams of linguistic sleuths say they have settled the question about Q's identity, reports the New York Times. Both have concluded that Q is actually two people. The theory is that the original posts were written by Paul Furber, a software developer and tech journalist from South Africa. But at some point in 2018, Ron Watkins of the US took over. Watkins ran the 8chan message board—now known as 8kun—where the posts gained popularity. For the record, both deny it.

Their names have surfaced before as likely candidates, and an HBO documentary asserts that Watkins inadvertently admitted to it on camera. The new analyses—one by Swiss researchers and the other by a French team—made use of machine learning to pore over posts by Q and compare them to posts made by Furber, Watkins, and others. Both say it's a near certainty that Q has been revealed, and two experts who reviewed the findings for the Times say they make a strong case.

Furber, for his part, explains away the similarities of his writing and Q's by saying that Q influenced him so much that he began mimicking him. The analysts dispute that. Watkins, who is running for Congress in Arizona, says simply, "I am not Q." But the 34-year-old also praises the Q posts and says "there is probably more good stuff than bad" in them. Read the full story, which notes that Q has been silent since December 2020. (The FBI thinks QAnon will strengthen as it decentralizes.)

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