Fifth of Brits believe QAnon theory

Report reveals extent to which lockdown and the pandemic have boosted the conspiracy theory scene


LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: A protestor holds a sign during a "Save our Children" rally outside Downing Street on October 10, 2020 in London, England. During the demonstration, protesters held signs which called for an end to child sex trafficking and made references to "Pizzagate". (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

 One in five people in the UK think there is some truth to the baseless QAnon theory that a shadowy cabal of elites across Hollywood, governments and the media are running a child trafficking ring, according to new data.
A new report published Monday by anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate lifts the lid on the shocking spread of Covid-sceptic and antisemitic conspiracy theories in 2020.
Hope Not Hate says that a third of Britons have encountered videos peddling the QAnon conspiracy, which first rose to prominence in the US after emerging on online message boards. 
One in five Britons (22 per cent) say the view that “elites in Hollywood, governments, the media and other powerful positions are secretly engaging in large scale child trafficking and abuse”, has some truth to it, according to a poll of 1,492 people carried out in February.
Seven per cent agree it is definitely true while another 15 per cent say it is probably true.
The recent poll also found that another 21 per cent agree that it is either definitely or probably true that Covid-19 was deployed as part of a depopulation plot orchestrated by the United Nations or New World Order.
Another 15 per cent either definitely or probably agree that "elites are encouraging immigration as part of a plot to weaken Europe".
The report warns that the pandemic had been “an incredible boon” to conspiracy theorists, with antisemitic tropes often lurking behind some of their main ideas. 
Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles said: “Lockdown and the pandemic have boosted the conspiracy theory scene and now more people are engaging with its ideas. Although some of these theories may not initially appear connected to prejudice, they circulate in the same currents as conspiratorial antisemitism, and could prove a gateway for the unsuspecting and draw in a new audience to antisemitism. 
“Many leading figures in the conspiracy movement stray into antisemitic territory, even Holocaust denial, and there is already a solid segment of society that says it is concerned about Jewish power and influence. The conspiracy movement risks breathing life into age-old antisemitic tropes and so must be monitored and challenged beyond lockdown.” 
Previous data reported by the charity revealed alarming levels of willingness to engage with antisemitic ideas in the UK.
A September poll found that 17 per cent of Britons agree that Jews have “disproportionate control of powerful institutions” which they use to their own benefit and against the good of the general population. 
Another survey carried out last April found that 13 per cent said they agree that Jewish people have “an unhealthy control of the banking system.”

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