In her written question that she submitted to the Government last week, Honkasalo asks if the Finnish authorities are gathering information on the cult, if exit processes are being prepared for the cult members and if especially the youth are protected against conspiracy theories.
– It is alarming how conspiracy theories creep into public discourse so rapidly. Due to the drastic spreading of QAnon, it is most important that the Finnish authorities are aware of the contents of the theory, equipped with a plan to fight the cult, and able to help people to overcome its influence, Honkasalo says.
According to the QAnon theory, the world is controlled by a cabal of the elite, “deep state”, who have purposely launched or staged the Covid-19 pandemic and who operate a global child-trafficking ring. Other types of conspiracy theories and beliefs are also involved, such as criticism against 5G networks, vaccinations, and modern medicine in general.
– The cult exploits people who feel anxious due to the uncertain global situation. Besides, it hinders the tackling of actual child abuse and the Covid-19 pandemic, Honkasalo says.
In time, a member of the QAnon community may find it hard to find understanding outside of the cult, and their connections with the outside world may become superficial. Hence, the members of the community may need external help to break away from it.
As with many other extremist movements, the QAnon theory spreads mostly in social media and on imageboards that are popular specifically among the youth. According to the survey conducted by the British advocacy group Hope not Hate, especially young Britons agree with QAnon-type statements.
– It is of utmost importance to discuss extremist movements with young people, include media education content in teaching, and raise media literacy levels among the youth as well as the entire population, Honkasalo says.