'Linguistics detectives' claim they've confirmed the identity of QAnon's founders

'Linguistics detectives' claim they've confirmed the identity of QAnon's founders
QANON image via Brandon Stivers / Shutterstock.

According to a report from the New York Times, two teams of "linguistic detectives" have arrived at the same conclusion pinpointing the founders of the conspiracy theory cult QAnon.

Noting that the QAnon phenomenon appears to have been kicked off on a popular online message board in 2017 with an ominous post reading "Open your eyes. Many in our govt worship Satan,” the report adds that Paul Furber, a South African software developer became the first "apostle" on the cult that later exploded and helped pave the way, in the long run, to the Capitol riot on Jan 6th.

As the Times reports, questions about who "Q" is has long bedeviled journalists, investigators and the public at large and now it appears that the answer is close at hand.

According to the Times' David Kirkpatrick, "... two teams of forensic linguists say their analysis of the Q texts show that Mr. Furber, one of the first online commentators to call attention to the earliest messages, actually played the lead role in writing them."

"Sleuths hunting for the writer behind Q have increasingly overlooked Mr. Furber and focused their speculation on another QAnon booster: Ron Watkins, who operated a website where the Q messages began appearing in 2018 and is now running for Congress in Arizona," the report adds. "And the scientists say they found evidence to back up those suspicions as well. Mr. Watkins appears to have taken over from Mr. Furber at the beginning of 2018. Both deny writing as Q."

Adding, "The studies provide the first empirical evidence of who invented the toxic QAnon myth," Kirkpatrick goes on to explain, "Computer scientists use machine learning to compare subtle patterns in texts that a casual reader could not detect. QAnon believers attribute this 2017 message to an anonymous military insider known as Q."

"The two analyses — one by Claude-Alain Roten and Lionel Pousaz of OrphAnalytics, a Swiss start-up; the other by the French computational linguists Florian Cafiero and Jean-Baptiste Camps — built on long-established forms of forensic linguistics that can detect telltale variations, revealing the same hand in two texts," the report continues.

According to mathematician Patrick Juola of Duquesne University, he thinks the two teams nailed it.

“What’s really powerful is the fact that both of the two independent analyses showed the same overall pattern,” he explained.

You can read in-depth details describing how they arrived at their conclusions here.


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