March 6, 2019

Qanon conspiracy book promoted by Amazon’s algorithm


A book supporting the Qanon conspiracy theory has climbed the ranks of Amazon’s “hot new releases,” currently sitting at #1 in the Censorship and Politics section and #4 in the Politics & Social Sciences section.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening (supposedly written by a collective of anonymous Qanon followers identifying as WWG1WGA, or Where We Go One We Go All) touts itself as “a field guide to an important chunk of reality that’s been carefully hidden and wrongly discredited by the media.” According to Ben Collins writing for NBCNews, these realities include Democrats murdering and eating children, and the U.S. Government creating AIDS.

One of many nonsensical and alarming passages in the book description reads:

The war between Good and Evil is no longer merely symbolic. Evil is being, tried and brought to justice in federal courts and military tribunals today. Criminally corrupt government leaders, celebrities, religious leaders, media figures, and corporate heads will be tried and punished for crimes involving treason, human trafficking, ritual sacrifice and unspeakable perversions.

Born on the fringes of the internet (blackholes like 4chan and the backchannels of YouTube), the Qanon conspiracy theory, according to Collins, gained mainstream popularity in 2018 with Trump supporters wearing clothes and holding signs “referencing ‘Q’ at political rallies,” followed by a slew of Qanon merchandise for sale on Amazon.

NBC News spoke to conspiracy theory researcher Mike Rothschild, who explains:

An Invitation to the Great Awakening is a new way for those pushing the Qanon conspiracy theory to make cash, since recent changes to YouTube’s algorithm have made it harder for conspiracy theorists to find new followers and cash in on true believers.

Amazon declined to give Collins a comment, but Rothschild says that the creators of the book “absolutely exploited flaws in Amazon’s algorithms.” By spiking initial sales within Qanon’s “small but devoted fan base,” the book shot up Amazon’s list to gain visibility.

“Small but devoted,” indeed. The book currently has 100% 5 star ratings and 78 rave reviews. A sampling:



Amelia Stymacks is the former director of digital marketing at Melville House.