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Data: GroupSense; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The QAnon conspiracy is picking up steam abroad, particularly in Europe, where populist movements are on the rise.

Why it matters: "The U.S. has started exporting these domestic-in-origin conspiracy movements to the outside world, "says Zarine Kharazian, Assistant Editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.

  • "Instead of being the target for a lot of disinformation, the U.S. has become the exporter of a lot of it.”

Driving the news: The QAnon movement is gaining a foothold in countries like Italy, France, Germany and the U.K., according to a new report from NewsGuard, a company that fights misinformation.

  • The creation and sharing of QAnon-related material in Europe peaked in June during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, NewsGuard found.
  • "It’s like people took the QAnon theory from the U.S. and then modified it for the European context," says Kharazian.

Details: According the the NewsGuard report, many new QAnon websites, pages, groups, and accounts started to appear in European countries in late 2019 and early 2020, and quickly amassed large numbers of followers.

  • Older, more established pages and groups then started re-sharing QAnon information.
  • Some of these accounts are based in the U.S., suggesting they are being run by Americans hoping to export the QAnon ideology. 

Meanwhile: Tweets about QAnon are exploding worldwide, according to separate data from GroupSense, which tracked tweets that have used some of the top QAnon-affiliated hashtags.

  • Twitter's recent ban on thousands of QAnon accounts, and limits on over 150,000 others, does seem to have already made an impact on curbing the spread on Twitter.

What's next: Just like in the U.S., these fringe conspiracies have already begun to bubble up into the mainstream, per the report.

  • In the U.K., pop star Robbie Williams said he supported the Pizzagate theory.
  • In Italy, a member of Parliament posted a speech to her Facebook account promoting conspiracies previously popularized by pro-Qanon accounts.

The bottom line: QAnon's theories of a vast set of sinister forces arrayed against nationalist leaders are proving catching among the populist movement worldwide.

Go deeper

New GOP campaign: Argue election stolen, Biden illegitimate

Election observers demand access to counting room in Detroit. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are setting the stage to claim a Joe Biden presidency would be illegitimate, baselessly questioning everything from how ballots are counted to whether "fake" polls suggesting blue waves that never came are tantamount to voter suppression.

Why it matters: Arguing that he was wrongfully removed from office could give Trump a face-saving way to explain a possible election loss. It also could distract from a Biden presidency in transition.

Mike Allen, author of AM
34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

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