Update (11/28/22): This piece has been updated to include additional QAnon-supporting accounts that Trump amplified November 14-15.
The day before former President Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential candidacy, he amplified more than 50 posts from QAnon-supporting accounts on Truth Social — many of which contained blatant references to the conspiracy theory and false claims about election fraud.
This amplification came as Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, revealed that Trump’s political speech would be ineligible for fact-checking once he announced his candidacy,
On November 15, Meta reportedly sent a memo to its third-party fact-checkers, noting that “if former President Trump makes a clear, public announcement that he is running for office, he would be considered a politician under our program policies” and “political speech is ineligible for fact-checking.” Even as Trump is banned from Meta’s platforms until at least January 2023, the pause on fact-checking him “applies to anything Trump says and false statements made by Trump can be posted to the platform by others.”
Prior to announcing his presidential bid, Trump repeatedly posted on his alternative social media platform Truth Social and shared posts from other users. In fact, Media Matters found that between November 14 and 15, he amplified at least 50 posts from numerous QAnon-supporting accounts. Many of these posts include explicit references to the harmful QAnon conspiracy theory that has been tied to various acts of real world violence and is considered a potential domestic terror threat by the FBI.
Several posts also make false claims around election fraud, with one post referring to the January 6 insurrection as when “millions of Americans stood faithfully by President Trump in protest of the stolen election.” QAnon influencers took notice of Trump’s posts and celebrated his acknowledgement, saying he was giving them “encouragement” and his posts are proof that “the plan is on track.”
Trump has previously made nods to and amplified the QAnon conspiracy theory, leaving no reason to believe that he would not do the same if given a platform again on Meta’s social media sites. Since joining Truth Social, Trump has amplified 78 unique QAnon-supporting accounts 280 times.
Posts with QAnon references
Several of the Truth Social posts Trump shared include blatant QAnon imagery or references such as the letter “Q,” the number “17” (a reference to Q being the 17th letter in the alphabet), or “the storm” (a reference to a supposed secret plan that will result in Trump’s eventual victory). Some posts included quotes from various posts from Q, known as “Q drops," and one includes an entire Q drop next to an image of Trump.
Election denial posts
Trump also shared several Truth Social posts claiming that the Arizona 2022 midterm election was fraudulent and that it’s happening again because “it went unpunished the first time around.” Another meme shared by the former president implied that Biden and Democrats orchestrated a “voter fraud organization,” while a third referred to the January 6 insurrection as a “protest of the stolen election.”
QAnon influencer reactions
QAnon influencers quickly noticed Trump’s activity and had overwhelmingly positive reactions. Several interpreted Trump’s activity as signals that “the plan is very much still in place” and they shouldn’t feel “discouraged.” One QAnon influencer whom Trump had amplified at least 12 times expressed how “honored” they felt and shared some reactions from other QAnon influencers.