Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg portrayed as the QAnon shaman before a Congressional hearing on the role social media played in the January Insurrection.

Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘Those things get the highest engagement’: New Facebook users served QAnon content in less than a week, whistleblower says

Conspiracies come flying fast when you sign up for Facebook.


David Covucci


Posted on Oct 5, 2021   Updated on Oct 13, 2021, 1:05 pm CDT

Documents released to Congress by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen show how swiftly a new user’s feed can become a hotbed of conspiratorial content, specifically serving up pages and posts supporting QAnon.

QAnon is the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a cabal of pedophile elites. Its adherents were part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Haugen is testifying before Congress today after filing a formal SEC whistleblower complaint, coming forward as the source for a series of stories by the Wall Street Journal about the deleterious effects of the social media network.

In the documents, Haugen says Facebook conducted experiments to show what might happen if a new user joined and followed mainstream Republican figures like President Donald Trump.

Within a week, the report says, users were served up QAnon pages. The tests showed that for a new user, “After a small number of high quality/verified conservative internet follows (Fox News, Donald Trump, Melania Trump — all official pages) within just one day Page recommendations had already devolved towards polarizing content.”

Then it went off the rails.

“Although the account set out to follow conservative political news and humor content generally,” the report found, “Page recommendations began to include conspiracy recommendations after only 2 days (it took <1 week to get a QAnon recommendation).”

Haugen mentioned the experiment in her interview with 60 Minutes as well.


Facebook has routinely struggled with QAnon content on the site, oftentimes banning major figures and pages, only for the movement to crop up again and again

On Oct. 6, 2020, Facebook banned QAnon from the platform, though the effort has been less than successful.


Read more of the Daily Dot’s tech and politics coverage

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked documents reveal TikTok’s online and IRL efforts to keep employees from talking about ties to China
Martin Shkreli is using Google Docs to find women who f*ck on the first date
The Babylon Bee’s owner is leading a campaign against ‘grooming’—he’s also helping Matt Gaetz get re-elected
Ex-Black Hammer members detail Gazi Kodzo’s abusive ‘cult,’ which culminated in arrests for kidnapping and sexual assault
Is Democrats’ new net neutrality bill just a 2022 midterms ploy?
EXCLUSIVE: Anti-vax dating site that let people advertise ‘mRNA FREE’ semen left all its user data exposed
Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.
Share this article
*First Published: Oct 5, 2021, 11:34 am CDT