With the help of machine learning software, computer scientists may have unmasked the identity of Q, the founder of the QAnon movement. In a sprawling report released on Saturday, shared the findings of two independent teams of forensic linguists who claim to have identified Paul Furber, a South African software developer who was one of the first to draw attention to the conspiracy theory, as the author original of Q. They Say Arizona Congressional Candidate Ron Watkins also wrote under the pseudonym, first collaborating with Furber, then taking over the account when he eventually moved to post on his father’s 8chan message board.
The two teams of Swiss and French researchers used different methodologies to reach the same conclusion. Switzerland, made up of two researchers from startups , used software to break up Q’s missives into three-character sequences. They then tracked how often these sequences repeated. The French team, meanwhile, trained an AI to look for patterns in Q’s handwriting. Both techniques broadly fall under an approach known as stylometry which seeks to analyze writing in a way that is measurable, consistent, and repeatable. To avoid the possibility of confusing their respective programs, the teams limited their analysis to social media posts. Of all the other possible authors they put to the test, they say Furber and Watkins’ writing stood out the most for its similarity to Q’s.
And they are confident in this identification. The French team of computational linguists Florian Cafiero and Jean-Baptiste Camps said The temperature their software correctly identified Furber’s handwriting in 98% of tests and Watkins’ handwriting in 99%. “In the beginning, most of the text is by Furber,” Cafiero said. “But Ron Watkins’ signing went up in the first few months while Paul Furber went down and then dropped completely.”
People have previously to identify Harry Potter author JK Rowling as the secret author of The cuckoo’s call, a 2013 mystery novel that Rowling wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. More broadly, law enforcement has successfully used stylometry in various criminal cases, including by the FBI to show that Ted Kaczynski was the Unabomber.
experts The temperature spoken – including Professor Patrick Juola, the computer scientist who identified Rowling as the author of The cuckoo’s call – said they found the findings credible and persuasive. “What’s really powerful is the fact that the two independent analyzes showed the same overall pattern,” Juola said.
Furber and Watkins deny writing any of Q’s posts. ‘I’m not Q,’ the latter said The temperature. Furber, meanwhile, said he was influenced by Q’s posts to change the style of his prose, a claim that language experts said the outlet was “implausible”. It’s also worth mentioning that the scan included Furber tweets from the early days of Q’s existence.
What happens next is unclear. The researchers who worked on the identification said The temperature they hope that unmasking Q will loosen QAnon’s grip on people. Spreading like wildfire on social media, the conspiracy theory has had a profound effect on politics in the United States and other parts of the world. And while Q hasn’t posted a new post since the end of 2020, that hasn’t dampened people’s enthusiasm for conspiracies about the “deep state” and its involvement in their lives.
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