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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.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
25 mins ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

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