Mr. Protzman did not respond to a request for comment.
Another telegram channel carried a baseless description of the Astroworld tragedy, in which people died on rapper Travis Scott’s show. The channel claimed that Mr. Scott (born Jacques B. Webster) deliberately tried to kill young teenagers in a satanic ritual. “Living Hell. A human sacrifice, “said one post. “Demonic.” The post received 83,100 views. Subsequent posts with the same message generated thousands more views.
By November. 8, these posts reached mainstream social media. “Has anyone else noticed that the stage is an inverted cross leading to the portal of hell?” A TikTok user asked in a video that got more than a million views. Others shared a YouTube video with over 44,100 views, entitled “Devil’s Ritual Revealed at Travis Scott Concert.”
And on Facebook, a pastor from Indianapolis published a post that generated over 160,000 likes, comments, and shares. “What a clear invitation to Satan’s ritual!” The pastor, Jeffrey Pitts, said. “This is true on our face and people are still following the trends and there is no clue that this generation is setup for slaughter.”
False rumors generated more than 303,000 interactions before the first fact-finding of the claims was published, according to an analysis of data from Crowdtangel, a social media analytics tool owned by Facebook.
“I don’t know anything about QAnon, I don’t understand what they do,” he said. Pitts said when asked about his viral post. “I am a pastor who exposes the realm of the devil. The stuff that went on in Astroworld, and that spirit, was demonic. “
Whatever QAnon followers do to “use my post is their business,” Mr. Pitts added.
Some politicians have claimed that Satan worshipers are hiding in the Democratic Party, drawing elements of conspiracy into their posts without explicitly mentioning Quenon.
“America is a Christian nation,” Mr. Miguel, Florida Republican, Said in a Twitter post on November. 19“I will never stop fighting the devil-globo-communists. # America First. “