Two groups of “linguistic detectives” who have used computers and machine learning to track speech patterns on social media messages are convinced they’ve identified the founders of QAnon, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Conspiracy theorists claim the anonymous “Q” is a mysterious top-secret government operative within the “deep state” with access to its secrets.
Now, linguistic detectives have identified South African software developer Paul Furber, who previously appeared to be a first disciple of a QAnon message posted in 2017, as a founder of the movement — along with Ron Watkins, who is now running for Congress in Arizona.
According to the word sleuths in the Times piece, Watkins likely took over from Furber in 2018. He operated a website where the Q messages began appearing that year.
Both men have denied being the creators of QAnon, though Furber, 55, glibly told the Times that “Q” so influenced people that we’ve “all started talking like him.”
Watkins, 34, told the Times: “I am not Q.”
But Watkins’ name in the latest studies is no surprise.
The long-time administrator of the message board 8kun, the QAnon movement’s online home, has been named in other, previous, reports. He also appeared to out himself as QAnon’s propagator last year in “Q: Into the Storm,” an HBO documentary about the movement.
Watkins claims to talk to Q, who never seems interested in broadening his social media reach beyond Watkins’ operation.
Watkins boasted in the documentary about pushing rigged election lies. “It was basically three years of intelligence training, teaching normies how to do intelligence work,” Watkins said. “It was basically what I was doing anonymously before, but never as Q”— apparently indicating never previously as Q.
Then he tried to recover: “I’m not Q.” (Check out the video of his remarks in the clip up top.)
Furber has also been previously named as a likely QAnon founder.
But the latest revelation adds evidence to the unmaskings. Scientists hope the information will undermine QAnon’s hold on millions of gullible Americans — and free them from Q’s unhinged conspiracies like John F. Kennedy Jr. has risen from the dead, and that Donald Trump will crush a worldwide Satanic child sex trafficking operation run by the Democratic Party.
The two new analyses — by Claude-Alain Roten and Lionel Pousaz of Swiss start-up OrphAnalytics and the other by the French computational linguists Florian Cafiero and Jean-Baptiste Camps — used forensic linguistics that detect telltale variations in speech that are as distinctive as fingerprints.
Both teams believe their conclusions are more than 92% accurate.
Check out the full Times story here.