Telegram is helping QAnon and far-right channels monetize their content with its new ads program

Some of the ads are even promoting QAnon-related channels on the platform

Telegram far-right channels ads

Citation Andrea Austria / Media Matters

The social media and messaging platform Telegram is allowing numerous QAnon and far-right channels to monetize their content on the platform with revenue from its newly launched advertisements program, a Media Matters review has found.

In late February, Telegram’s CEO and founder Pavel Durov announced that the company would be launching advertising on the platform, “allowing channel owners to receive financial rewards.” Specifically, owners of public channels with over 1,000 subscribers would receive “a 50% share of the revenue Telegram earns in connection with the number of valid impressions of sponsored messages displayed in eligible channels you own” — an arrangement the platform has called “one of the most generous reward systems in the history of social media.” Ads are described within the app as “help[ing] the channel creator.”

Following the launch of the advertisement program on March 31, Media Matters found that some ads appeared to be for QAnon-related channels, with names like “The 17th Letter” (apparently referring to Q, which is the 17th letter of the alphabet), “Real Q Knows (?),” “I AM BACK I? (Q),” “Real SGAnon,” and “Qtah 2.0” (apparently a new channel for a known QAnon influencer). Other ads highlighted channels centered around things like crypto and camping.

As for where these advertisements are winding up, a Media Matters review found them running in nearly three dozen QAnon-affiliated and far-right channels, suggesting that the owners of these channels have financially benefited from the new feature. These include multiple channels associated with QAnon figures and shows such as Nicholas Veniamin, Jacob Creech (known online as “Clandestine”), “Pepe Lives Matter,” John Sabal (known online as “QAnon John” and “The Patriot Voice”), “StormyPatriotJoe,” “Enoch,” “TheStormHasArrived17,” “Shadow of Ezra,” Paul Fleuret (known online as “Absolute1776”), Jeffrey Pedersen (known online as “intheMatrixxx”), David Hayes (known online as “Praying Medic”), Jordan Sather, X22 Report, Patriot Streetfighter, Woke Societies, and Zak Paine. The review also found a channel called “Q NEWS OFFICIAL TV #WWG1WGA” with advertisements.

QAnon channels Telegram ads

Citation QAnon-affiliated Telegram channels with ads

Two far-right lawmakers who have previously been tied to QAnon — Arizona Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — also had ads featured on their channels.

Wendy Rogers MTG Telegram ads

Citation Ads on Telegram channels of far-right lawmakers

Outside of QAnon, far-right figures who have promoted white nationalism, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and/or Holocaust denial — Vincent James Foxx, Laura Loomer, Stew Peters, Nick Fuentes, and Keith Woods — also had advertisements on their channels.

White nationalists Telegram ads

Citation Ads on Telegram channels of far-right figures who have promoted white nationalism, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and/or Holocaust denial

Other far-right figures and entities had advertisements on their channels as well, including Patrick Byrne, Sidney Powell, David Clements, and former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, who have pushed election denial; Sherri Tenpenny and Larry Cook, who have pushed anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories; conspiracy theorists Roger Stone and Karli Bonne; conspiracy theory channels Disclosure Hub and “Covid Truth Network”; and Tracy “Beanz” Diaz, who played a key role in QAnon’s early spread.

The apparent monetization of these figures’ content comes as Telegram has become a haven for QAnon supporters, conspiracy theorists, and others on the far-right, providing yet another platform where conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists can earn revenue.