9/24 conspiracy theories are igniting the internet and QAnon circles

  • A German politician’s speech has sparked a wave of baseless 9/24 conspiracy theories.
  • Some netizens believe that a global “major event” will occur on this day.
  • The baseless notion has also gained traction in circles of the far-right QAnon conspiratorial movement.

Far-right conspiracy forums and mainstream platforms such as TikTok have been spreading wild claims over the past week that all surround the September 24 date. Although there is no evidence that anything catastrophic or world-changing will happen on this date, the otherwise mundane day has become the source of rampant online speculation.

QAnon followers, doomsday conspiracy theorists and various content creators have set themselves on the date, sharing baseless theories on social media that have received millions of views. Each offered convoluted explanations for why the day has hidden meaning.

The online fascination with September 24 stems in part from a speech given by Friedrich Merz, leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany party. In a speech earlier this month about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Merz misspoke and said that September 24 (instead of February 24, the first day of the invasion) would be a day that people would remember, according to a German far-right researcher.

Merz’s “September 24” comment was later cut and aired on German QAnon Telegram channels, according to Vice, stripping it of its context and defining it as having an outsized meaning. The clip gained traction and proliferated on social media as many unsubstantiated speculation that something big would happen that day, while some QAnon believers used it as fodder to promote their movement. The reasons given for why the date is significant tend to rely on extravagant connections or numerology – some users have cited as evidence the fact that the ninth episode of The Simpsons in its 24th season (which could be shortened to 9/24) included survivalists preparing for the end of the world.

There is now a plethora of speculation about catastrophic or seismic changes that could take place on September 24, and the conspiracy theory has gained attention outside of the fringe forums where it initially flourished.

A British TikToker with around 200,000 followers posted a video of Merz’s comments on Tuesday and shared various theories he had seen online, from Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election to a solar flare and the end of the time. The video contained no evidence for these theories, but received 3.9 million views on the platform. (A subsequent post from the same TikToker debunking these claims only received 77,000 views.)

A right-wing Twitter user amassed over 32,000 views by sharing a clip on the audio, wrote ‘something wrong’ in the caption and speculated a ‘major event’ would happen on the date. Meanwhile, a QAnon-affiliated Telegram user with more than 13,000 followers on the platform cited Germany’s “ominous warning” about September 24 to baselessly claim there would be an “attack under false flag” that day.

Another QAnon conspirator with thousands of followers has written a timeline of events they believe will occur, including “mass cyberattacks” and the start of “10 Days of Darkness” on September 24. Their prediction included the common QAnon plot that John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in 1999, would turn out to be alive and return as Trump’s vice president. Fringe forums for QAnon and Trump supporters are teeming with posts about the date.

There have also been significant discussions about September 24 on Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, and YouTube videos speculating that a “massive event” will soon occur around the world.

The far-right QAnon conspiracy theory movement has a long history of deploying numerology and arbitrary dates to claim without evidence that something big is about to happen. Adherents to the movement have previously made claims about fictional events that never happened where so-called “deep state” officials and Democratic leaders would be arrested en masse, and Trump would be reinstated as president.

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