Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House votes to condemn QAnon conspiracy theory

QAnon supporters protesting in Los Angeles in August.

QAnon supporters protesting in Los Angeles in August. Photo: Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution on Friday that condemns QAnon, the far-right, online conspiracy movement that promotes baseless theories about the U.S. government.

Why it matters: QAnon has slowly seeped into mainstream American politics this year, and its growing influence is sowing fear and confusion around some of today's most important issues, such as the upcoming presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic, Axios' Stef W. Kight and Sara Fischer report.

Context: Broadly, the movement purports without evidence that posts by an anonymous internet user from within the federal government are alluding to a secret war that the "deep state" is waging against President Trump.

  • It has grown exponentially on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter despite efforts from both companies to crack down on potentially dangerous misinformation.
  • The FBI identified fringe conspiracy theories, like QAnon, as domestic terrorist threats in 2019, according to Yahoo News.

By the numbers: Friday's House vote was 371 to 18 in favor of the resolution sponsored by Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.).

  • 17 Republicans and one independent voted against the resolution, including Reps. Justin Amash (I-Mich) and Steve King (R-Iowa), per the Washington Post.
  • Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), also a Republican, voted present.

The other side: Though many GOP representatives supported the resolution, others argued that Democrats were making the condemnation a political issue because the resolution does not specifically call out antifa, a left-wing political movement, NPR reports.

What they're saying: "Today the House voted 371-18 to pass my resolution condemning QAnon — an overwhelming bipartisan repudiation of this extremist group and of the conspiracy theories tearing our country apart. Huge thanks to my partner [Rep. Riggleman]," Rep. Malinowski tweeted Friday.

The big picture: The resolution calls on the FBI and homeland security agencies "to continue to strengthen their focus on preventing violence, threats, harassment, and other criminal activity by extremists motivated by fringe political conspiracy theories."

  • It also "encourages the intelligence community to uncover any foreign support, assistance, or online amplification QAnon receives, as well as any QAnon affiliations, coordination, and contacts with foreign extremist organizations or groups espousing violence."
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