How 2020 transformed big tech: the story of Facebook, QAnon and the world’s slackening grip on reality | Technology

As with many others in Britain, lockdown hit Rachel and her husband, Philip, hard. Almost overnight, the couple, both in their early 50s, found themselves cut off from friends, family and colleagues. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, they had both been working every day; now Philip found himself furloughed, while Rachel was put on rotation with other essential staff, working fewer shifts at odd hours. They were unable to meet up with their four adult sons and daughters. They had to attend a family funeral while remaining socially distanced.

Initially, Rachel coped in the way many others did. She played more video games than normal, and felt stressed at work, but as far as possible she managed. Her husband didn’t. For him, it seemed there must be more to it than the authorities struggling to cope with a novel virus and evolving expert advice. “The regularly changing and conflicting information that was coming from the government added to the feeling in him that they were making things up or covering something up,” Rachel says now.

Initially, Philip and Rachel (their names have been changed for this article) discussed his fears, but as lockdown went on, their conversations stopped. Philip was frustrated that Rachel wasn’t taking his concerns seriously: someone had to be benefiting from the situation, he insisted, and events such as Dominic Cummings’ Barnard Castle “eye test” only increased his belief that “they” knew the pandemic was fake, and the nation was being kept indoors for a more sinister purpose. Philip began to research what this sinister purpose might be. That, Rachel says, is what led him to QAnon.

It’s hard to describe the movement that Philip fell into. QAnon has its roots in the “pizzagate” conspiracy, which emerged four years ago after users poring over hacked Democratic party emails on the message board 4chan said that, if you replaced the word “pizza” with “little girl”, it looked as if they were discussing eating children. That claim – whether it was made in jest or sincerity is impossible to tell – spiralled into allegations of a vast paedophilic conspiracy centred on Comet Pizza, a restaurant in Washington DC.

A year later, a 4chan user with the handle “Q Clearance Patriot” appeared, claiming to be a government insider tasked with sharing “crumbs” of intel about Donald Trump’s planned counter-coup against the deep state forces frustrating his presidency. As Q’s following grew, the movement became known as the Storm – as in, “the calm before …” – and then QAnon, after its founder and prophet. At that point, QAnon was a relatively understandable conspiracy theory: it had a clear set of beliefs rooted in support for Trump and in the increasingly cryptic posts attributed to Q (by then widely believed to be a group of people posting under one name).

Now, though, it’s less clearcut. There’s no one set of beliefs that define a QAnon adherent. Most will claim some form of mass paedophilic conspiracy; some, particularly in the US, continue to focus on Trump’s supposed fightback. But the web of beliefs has become all-encompassing. One fan-produced map of all the “revelations” linked to the group includes references to Julius Caesar, Atlantis and the pharaohs of Egypt in one corner, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and 5G in another, the knights of Malta in a third, and the Fukushima meltdown in a fourth – all tied together with a generous helping of antisemitism, from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to hatred of George Soros. QAnon isn’t one conspiracy theory any more: it’s all of them at once.

In September, BuzzFeed News made the stylistic decision to refer to the movement as a “collective delusion”. “There’s more to the convoluted entity than the average reader might realise,” wrote BuzzFeed’s Drusilla Moorhouse and Emerson Malone. “But delusion does illustrate the reality better than conspiracy theory does. We are discussing a mass of people who subscribe to a shared set of values and debunked ideas, which inform their beliefs and actions.”



A QAnon sweatshirt at a Trump rally in October. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

At first, QAnon was a largely US phenomenon, with limited penetration in the UK. The pandemic, however, has changed that. According to recent polling by Hope Not Hate, one in four people in Britain now agree with some of the basic conspiracies it has promulgated: that “secret satanic cults exist and include influential elites”, and that “elites in Hollywood, politics, the media” are secretly engaging in large-scale child trafficking and abuse. Nearly a third believe there is “a single group of people who secretly control events and rule the world together”, and almost a fifth say that Covid-19 was intentionally released as part of a “depopulation plan”.

For Philip, trapped at home and searching for an explanation for a global pandemic, when all he could find was a void of information, QAnon was fertile territory. He already spent most of his time while furloughed on his phone looking for answers. What was the real reason for everyone being forced inside? How did the virus start? Who started it?

“In his mind, there had to be a reason for it,” Rachel says. Inevitably, his search took in Facebook, where the site’s recommendation algorithms were quick to connect him to individuals on similar quests. “Ultimately, it led to him becoming brainwashed,” she says.

For many, the existence of Facebook – and its sister products, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger – has been a lifeline in this period. The social network has always prided itself on connecting people, and when the ability to socialise in person, or even leave the house, was curtailed, Facebook was there to pick up the slack.

But those same services have also enabled the creation of what one professional factchecker calls a “perfect storm for misinformation”. And with real-life interaction suppressed to counter the spread of the virus, it’s easier than ever for people to fall deep down a rabbit hole of deception, where the endpoint may not simply be a decline in vaccination rates or the election of an unpleasant president, but the end of consensus reality as we know it. What happens when your basic understanding of the world is no longer the same as your neighbour’s? And can Facebook stop that fate coming to us all?


Since its foundation, in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, Facebook has tackled its share of challenges. Some have stayed fairly constant: no social network gets many users without needing to tackle spam, for instance, though the Facebook of 2004 would struggle to remove the 3.3bn junk posts that the company took down in the first half of this year.

Others are unique to a company with 2.7 billion users that operates in almost every country in the world. Facebook has become a centre point of civil society. It’s more than just a place to share photos and plan parties: it’s where people read news, arrange protests, engage in debate, play games and watch bands. And that means that all the problems of civil society are now problems for Facebook: bullying, sexual abuse, political polarisation and conspiracy theorists all existed before the social network, but all took on new contours as they moved online.

And this year they really moved online. As the initial lockdown was imposed across much of the world, people’s relationship to the internet, and to Facebook in particular, evolved rapidly. Stuck socially distancing, people turned to social networking to fill an emotional void.

Suddenly, the company found itself staring at unprecedented demands. “Our busiest time of the year is New Year’s Eve,” says Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, over a Zoom call from her London home. “And we were seeing the equivalent of New Year’s Eve every single day.” It was, she says, the inevitable result of having “almost the entire planet at home at the same time”.

Rachel agrees. “I believe the lockdown played a huge part in altering people’s perception of reality,” she says. When Covid restrictions came in, the rules of social interaction were rewritten. We suddenly stopped meeting friends in pubs, at the coffee point or by the school gates, and our lives moved online. And for many of us, “online” meant “on Facebook”.

I first heard Rachel’s story from QAnonCasualties, a forum on the social news site Reddit where she, and thousands like her, have congregated to seek advice and support after their loved ones fell into the cult. Her first post, in July this year, was titled: “I’ve finally reached the end of my tether.” She described a marriage of 25 years, and a family with four grownup children, being shattered by a husband who had sunk “further and further into this conspiracy”.

“It’s got the stage where I no longer understand him or even recognise him,” she wrote. Others echoed her story. Posts with titles such as “Grieving my dad while he’s still alive” and “Today I filed for divorce from my QAnon-obsessed husband” rub shoulders with pleas for help from those who still hope they can win loved ones back.

Beyond the heartbreak and anguish on QAnonCasualties, there is a common thread: a feeling that their friends and relatives are inhabiting a different reality. “On all levels, from the old-school conspiracist who just wants to uncover corruption to the alien interdimensional vampire demon QAnon believer, they ignore reality and latch on to narratives that support their version of reality,” says Robert Johnson, one of the moderators of the board, adding that most of the recent posts are from people radicalised in lockdown.

Early on in the pandemic, Facebook moved to make the most of the situation. As almost all of its 50,000 or so employees, as well as its army of contractors, were sent home, and Zuckerberg talked up the benefits of remote working, the company handed out grants to small businesses to help them switch to digital operation – $100m (£79m) globally, and another $100m in the US – and retooled its product offerings to take advantage of the new normal. But for all the work it put into smoothing the transition to lockdown life, Facebook also knew it had a problem brewing. The company’s never-ending battle with misinformation on its platforms was about to step into overdrive.

‘It became clear, very quickly, that there would be different approaches to how people would talk about, debate and discuss the virus …’ Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn.



‘It became clear, very quickly, that there would be different approaches to how people would talk about, debate and discuss the virus …’ Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

For a long time, the company had resisted acting on the problem. Moderation is hard enough already: simply finding and removing every example of unambiguously banned content on Facebook is a huge task, with comparatively easy-to-automate searches for things such as adult content still throwing up dizzying numbers of edge cases and errors. When it came to tackling misinformation, Facebook had a stated philosophical objection. “As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies,” Zuckerberg told an audience at Georgetown University last year. But the company was also motivated by the fact that misinformation isn’t as straightforward to identify as nudity, graphic violence or even hate speech.

For one thing, there isn’t even a commonly accepted definition. It is a sibling of disinformation, which is the deliberate spreading of falsehoods. But the line between “misinformation” and simple “inaccuracies” is blurry. Generally, the focus is on the potential for harm. A rumour that, say, the Canadian emo pop star Avril Lavigne was secretly replaced by a body double in the late 2000s is probably untrue, but unlikely to qualify as misinformation. Conversely, a rumour that Trump died of Covid-19 in early October and has been secretly replaced by a body double almost certainly does.

But wherever the line is drawn, the problem is the same: to find out if something is misinformation, you need to know the truth. Were Facebook to ban it directly, the company would effectively need to run an entire journalistic enterprise within its own moderation team.

As a compromise, Facebook partnered with journalists in 2017. Around the world, independent factchecking organisations were given funding and tools to mark viral posts on Facebook as true or false (there are a number of other categories, including “satirical”, “altered” or “missing context”). If the posts were false, their reach – the extent to which the Facebook algorithm showed them to others – would be diminished, and users would have to click through a warning sign to read them.

So far, the programme has been a mixed success. Reducing the reach of false content certainly helps: just a few months after it was launched, Facebook said a factcheck would lead to 80% fewer viewers of a piece of false content. But factcheckers have complained about the limits placed on them by the social network, ranging from restrictions on their ability to factcheck political adverts to a lack of feedback from Facebook about how much, or little, their work is actually helping.

And that was before Covid hit. “We went early as a company in closing down globally,” says Mendelsohn. “You would class us as conservative in that respect, and we will be conservative coming out as well.” Now, six months on, Facebook has a skeleton team in some of its offices and datacentres, and employees coming in to work on the company’s augmented and virtual reality products, such as its Oculus headsets. But the bulk of its staff are still working from home, something that Zuckerberg has said is likely to continue well past the end of the crisis.

Facebook’s moderation staff have been pulled off some of the most sensitive work, owing to data security concerns and fears for the employees’ own mental health. The soul-grinding task of scouring the platform for livestreamed suicides and videos of graphic violence has already led to a $52m settlement paid to more than 11,000 moderators in the US, and a lawsuit in Ireland over allegations of post-traumatic stress disorder, and that was when contractors were based in offices, with the support that brings.

By early April, the company was having to bring its diminished resources to bear against some of the most viral misinformation it had ever seen. (The unfortunate double meaning of the world “viral” was noted by nearly everyone I interviewed for this piece, as was the cliched-yet-useful approach of modelling misinformation as something spreading like a disease.)

“It became clear, very quickly, that there would be different approaches to how people would talk about, debate and discuss the issues of the virus,” Mendelsohn says. “And so we work through our harmful misinformation policy that we’ve had in place for about two and a half years now, where we have a very specific policy about taking down anything that could contribute to physical harm.”

Of course, the company has a lot of leeway in how it defines “physical harm”. It had applied that to infectious diseases before. A measles outbreak in Samoa, for instance, saw a parallel outbreak in harmful untruths, which Facebook acted to limit. But for years, Facebook has argued that the harm caused by the broader anti-vaccination movement didn’t cross that threshold, and allowed the groups to flourish on the platform. In March 2019, it relented slightly, and banned anti-vax ads that include misinformation about vaccines; in October this year, it went further, and banned all anti-vax advertising, except for that with a political message. “Organic content” – posts and groups advocating against vaccines – is still allowed.

With Covid-19, the company went even further, attempting to limit the misinformation while also filling in the “information voids” that led people such as Philip down their dark path. Links pinned at the top of feeds have taken more than 2 billion people, Mendelsohn says, to resources from health authorities around the world, detailing what is known about the virus.

But those efforts can’t stop the tide. “There was just an explosion of interest in one singular topic, for very obvious reasons,” says Tom Phillips, the editor-in-chief of Full Fact, one of Facebook’s two UK factchecking partners. “In the UK, we generally see massive spikes of traffic around elections, and we had one at the end of 2019. The pandemic dwarfed that.” And matching that explosion in interest was an explosion in the supply of misinformation, much of it delivered by questionable sources.

“The industries that many celebrities work in – film, music, sport – were among the hardest hit by shutdowns. So even more than most of us, they suddenly found themselves with nothing to do but sit on Twitter,” Phillips says. “Not all of them did a Taylor Swift, spending the time recording an album. Some of them started sharing wild rumours to millions of followers instead.” This, then, is how we end up with Ian Brown, the former frontman of the Stone Roses, declaring that conspiracy theorist is “a term invented by the lame stream media to discredit those who can smell and see through the government/media lies and propaganda”.

Brown’s obsession with revealing the “truth” about coronavirus has spread from his social-media posts to his recorded music: the anti-mask, anti-vaccine Little Seed Big Tree, with lyrics including “Masonic lockdown, in your home town / Get behind your doors for the new world order” joins Van Morrison’s No More Lockdown (“No more taking of our freedom / And our God-given rights / Pretending it’s for our safety”) in the canon of hits championed by QAnon supporters.

Where celebrities at least have a coterie of minders, publicists and agents begging them not to follow Brown and Morrison down this route, the rest of us had to rely on our friends and family, says QAnonCasualties’ Johnson. And then, suddenly, we couldn’t. “Some of these folk probably weren’t too into QAnon before the lockdown,” Johnson says. “They would have been shot down by co-workers when bringing it up.” Without that kind of reality check, they were able to fall further.

Full Fact’s Phillips agrees. “Personal contact takes you out of the rabbit hole. You know, it can be a very direct, ‘No, mate, that’s nonsense,’ but it could also just be taking people away from the singular focus that conspiracy rabbit holes require. Just by introducing other topics of conversation.” Lockdown removed those opportunities for intervention at a stroke.

And so, furloughed and stuck indoors, Rachel’s husband, Philip, sank deeper and deeper into the alternative reality that QAnon presented. Although Facebook had been the open end of the rabbit hole, it proved too restrictive for him: even the algorithmically mediated interactions with his friends and family were becoming hostile and argumentative, as they tried in vain to push back against the cult.

He started new social media accounts, dedicated only to the conspiracy. When Rachel found one of those, and saw what it was sharing, she felt “physically sick”; she realised her husband hadn’t simply picked up a few odd beliefs, but joined a full-blown cult. “How do you talk to someone who has been brainwashed but who believes that it is you that is the brainwashed one,” she asked Reddit.

In August, things hit rock bottom. Philip’s focus had grown from coronavirus-specific conspiracies to the wider web of evil posited by QAnon. His YouTube recommendations were no longer about mobile phones and cars; they were for clips putting forward conspiracy theories and fabrications. YouTube has historically been one of the most permissive of the major social media platforms, with few policies against misinformation: instead, the site puts links to Wikipedia pages underneath contentious videos (and deletes only the most egregiously false ones). But even YouTube’s filters started getting in the way, and so he switched again, to the video host BitChute, where “Fall of the Cabal”, a notorious QAnon video primer, shares space with content creators recounting lurid stories of having seen an infamous – yet entirely fictional – video of Hillary Clinton eating a young child alive, chasing a supposed high that can be gained from drinking the blood of a terrified child.

In Philip’s eyes, Rachel was now an idiot, who believed mainstream media. “I became a ‘normie’ who needed to wake up and understand what was really going on,” she says. “He was unable to stick to one topic. If I said something about how we were struggling with social distancing at work, he would respond with a furious diatribe about Soros, Clinton, Bill Gates, 5G and vaccines that control and kill people.”

For Rachel, the final straw was when her husband claimed to have seen a video incriminating a member of the Hollywood elite: a clip, he said, of Tom Hanks “with a three-year-old girl”. For Rachel, who works with safeguarded children, the implication was obscene. If her husband really had seen such a clip, then no matter how it was produced – Photoshopped, edited together – it must have started as real child abuse imagery. That a cult ostensibly focused on saving children could somehow persuade her husband to engage in sharing such material disgusted her. She started packing her bags the next morning.


By the time QAnon adherents are that far in the rabbit hole, the consensus on the QAnonCasualties board is that it’s hard to rescue them. It’s not easy to overturn someone’s sense of reality, but even harder to restore it once it has been lost. And so the focus is on preventing people from falling down the rabbit hole in the first place: tackling QAnon at the more acceptable end.

In the UK, that largely means the “Save the Children” movement, not to be confused with the charity of the same name. One of its largest groups, Freedom for the Children UK (FFTCUK), was created in July by Laura Ward, 36, who told the BBC she had a “spiritual awakening” that motivated her to organise during the lockdown. By late August, the FFTCUK Facebook page had become large enough to organise a 500-strong rally in central London, campaigning to “raise the awareness of child exploitation and human trafficking”. Ward denied any links to QAnon, but the London rally – one of 200 nationwide that day – was full of QAnon-related slogans, from warnings that “pizzagate is real” to the catchphrase “Where we go one, we go all” (shortened to “WWG1WGA”).

In October, Facebook announced a blanket ban on QAnon-related groups, after earlier trying to ban only those arms of the movement linked to violence. But that ban hasn’t extended to groups such as FFTCUK, which remains on the site with more than 10,000 members. Joe Ondrak, of the factchecking site Logically, says the group’s denials don’t hold water. He cites the fact that members of the group openly talk about “adrenochrome harvesting” – the supposed high from drinking children’s blood. “While they don’t talk about Trump saving the world, the bedrock of their particular movement is based on one of QAnon’s many plotlines, rather than having any basis in reality,” Ondrak says.

The problem for Facebook is that the QAnon rabbit hole doesn’t work like other conspiracy theories. Rather than laying out the conspiracy, with a call to arms for believers, it instead offers a far more compelling instruction: “Do your research.”

Adrian Hon, a game designer and founder of the developer Six to Start, describes the appeal as similar to that of an “alternate reality game”, or ARG. A relatively niche pursuit even in the geek circles where they flourish, ARGs can be thought of as large-scale communal puzzles, with clues and riddles often seeded across fake websites and real locations. They often involve the players working together to assemble evidence of a shadowy conspiracy, at a scale that no one person could hope to solve alone. The parallels, he feels, are obvious. “QAnon makes the act of ‘researching’ fun, and into a game. It is not a solitary effort where you are in your basement putting red string everywhere, and no one cares what you’re doing: you’re doing this in forums, on Facebook and WhatsApp. It is quite a social phenomenon.”

QAnon is a group with coherent goals – ending child trafficking, or opposing Covid lockdowns – that prompt further questions. The adherents work together to uncover the truth beneath the surface, moving from mainstream sites to ever more esoteric communities, slowly getting sucked into the narrative they are both consuming and, ultimately, creating. “I know how people feel when they get into this,” Hon says. “It’s intoxicating and exciting to have all this information at your fingertips, and to be Googling things and checking websites.”

That impulse doesn’t just pull in adherents. Those on the outside can find themselves equally intrigued by the complexity of QAnon-related beliefs. Abbie Richards, a graduate student of climate studies at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, found herself the target of QAnon-related attacks after she went viral on TikTok for, of all things, a video criticising golf courses.

“You see all the comments in your videos, and I had one that was like: ‘Watch Fall of the Cabal, all 24 sections, and it’ll make sense,’” she says. “I was like, ‘You know what, I will!’” As she researched, what stood out was the ease with which the movement slid from things that were absolutely real to things that weren’t. In the eyes of the QAnon follower: “If Jeffrey Epstein’s death looks suspicious, then how can you deny that there’s a sex trafficking ring of people who drink blood?”

Richards drew up a diagram, The Conspiracy Chart, exploring that slide in detail. At the bottom are things that actually happened – historical conspiracies such as the FBI’s Cointelpro operation, which aimed to destroy the civil rights movement in the 1960s. At the top, past “the antisemitic point of no return”, is the mesh of beliefs that characterise QAnon and its adherents. Initially posted on TikTok, the framework is a remarkably useful way of distinguishing between conspiracy theories, and the alternative realities that sit on top of them. (“God bless Abbie Richards,” says Full Fact’s Phillips, unprompted, when discussing the difficulty of defining QAnon.)

But the chart also highlights, inadvertently, the difficulty of fighting the delusions head-on. As the conspiracies drift further away from the baseline of reality, the theorists are increasingly living in an altogether different world.

In the sci-fi author Neal Stephenson’s 2019 novel Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, a tech guru launches a misinformation attack on the world, releasing a fake video showing the destruction by a nuclear weapon of the small Utah town of Moab. The attack is quickly revealed as a hoax, but it doesn’t matter: 20 years later, “remember Moab” bumper stickers plaster cars as a cold civil war simmers. The consensus reality has broken down. Stephenson’s book feels prescient in an age when QAnon is mobilising marches of thousands of people against mass child abductions that aid workers say have simply not taken place. And, surprisingly, some experts, such as Ruth Ahnert, a professor at Queen Mary University of London and fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, which conducts research into artificial intelligence and data science, think we have been here before.

Ahnert acknowledges that Facebook and other social media platforms have changed the way we get information, but disputes that consensus reality is only now breaking down. “I think that idea is true only if you think of the movement from the 20th century to the 21st century, from broadcast media to social media. If you look in the longer history – back to the 16th century – you see something that looks like now.”

She says that then, as now, the elites had access to fairly accurate information about the state of the world. “If you look at the really influential people, those people had huge reach. They were communicating across Europe, into north Africa, into South America, Ottoman empire, sub-Saharan Africa.” Think of Samuel Pepys, as administrator of the navy, able to request and receive a report on the local conditions from almost anywhere English ships sailed. “But normal people were probably not communicating much beyond their village,” Ahnert points out. And, in an era when people primarily get their news from social networks – as more than one in 10 British adults do, according to Ofcom – then all that has happened is the village has moved online.

In that long view, the artificial world isn’t the one the internet and lockdown have created, but the temporary “blip” in time when broadcast media was able to forge one shared reality for a nation. “I wonder if it’s kind of come full circle in a way,” Ahnert says. “The more information we have access to, the less ability we have to tell what is authentic or not.”

When I put Ahnert’s words to Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, he is, unsurprisingly, less pessimistic. “I don’t think we’re going back to the stone age here, but I do think, like with each medium, we go through a reckoning when it’s born; [a process] of understanding it and integrating it into our lives. Facebook was built in 2004, so I guess technically we’re still a teenager.”

He points out that for Facebook, the work is continuing. “When we study groups, for example, we are able to study which of those are harmful and take a stand on them. And which of those are creating, at least at the individual level, a sense of deep belonging, fulfilling a deep need.”

We aren’t fully living in an online village yet. The number of people who get their news from a large, trusted provider still vastly outweighs those who focus primarily on social media; three times as many British people say BBC One is their single most important news source as those who cite Facebook. But Facebook is in third place, just behind ITV, and its share is growing.

“We take our responsibility very, very seriously,” says Facebook’s Mendelsohn. “It’s interesting to think about the history of misinformation, because it has been around for ever. It is in the nature of human beings.”

Rachel has a more concrete suggestion for how to reverse the tide. “QAnon seems to turn people into angry, bitter, volatile people. Offering kindness, and reminding yourself of who they really are, helps. It is a mental health issue.”

When she confronted her husband about the Hanks video, and started making preparations to leave, it shocked him back to reality. Philip came to her, saying he had deleted everything QAnon-related from his phone, as well as his social media accounts. “I do love you,” he said.

It has been a long road to recovery. Philip admitted that he hadn’t seen the Hanks video, but a still image that was “definitely him”. Two days later, he and Rachel went shopping, and he wore a face covering for the first time, something he had previously insisted was just another example of how “they” were controlling the “sheep”. Since then, Rachel says, “we’ve racked up more than 1,000 miles in the car, driving all over England to visit beautiful, quiet places to walk and talked like there is no tomorrow.

“I reminded him of how we laughed like drains when Trump was elected in 2016 and wondered if the US had lost its collective mind. He laughed and agreed. He still believes there might be a deep state or something sinister like that, but is now thinking more about questioning the motives of the people who are doing the pointing – not who they are pointing at.

“I am glad I stuck my hand down the rabbit hole and hauled him out,” she says. “Although I suspect that I am going to be dusting the rabbit droppings off him for a long time.”


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