Two completely independent teams claim that two men are hiding behind the messages of Q, the famous leader of the QAnon conspiracy movement. One used statistical tools, the second artificial intelligence.
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On October 28, 2017, an anonymous user posted a message on the American forum 4chan. It is signed only with the letter Q, like the clearance level in the Department ofEnergy required to access top secret documents. This is the start of QAnon, the movement conspirationniste which will influence American and world politics, and will contribute greatly to the capitol assault on January 6, 2021.
This famous Q, the leader of QAnon, continued to post messages until the end of 2020 but was never identified. However, two teams have just used stylometry, or the statistical analysis of style of the text, to name not one, but two authors. They independently arrived at the same results, using two different methods.
Two approaches for the same result
The first team comes from the Swiss startup OrphAnalytics. They cut the posts into three-letter sequences, then analyzed their frequency to compare them to posts made by six potential authors. The second team is French, from the National School of Charters. Their approach is based on an artificial intelligence that has learned to recognize the writing style of 13 suspects, to compare it to Q’s messages. French indicate 98 and 99%.
The two teams thus first recognized the style of Paul Furber, a software developer from South Africa. It is he who would have started the business, but the researchers quickly identified a second author who publishes more and more frequently, the conspirationniste American Ron Watkins. 1is December 2017, QAnon moves to the 8kun forum (formerly 8chan) which is owned by his father. From this date, Ron Watkins becomes the sole author of the messages. contacted by New York Timesthe two men have of course denied everything…
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