News & Opinion | October 13, 2020 12:22 pm

Even Peloton Has Had to Crack Down on QAnon Activity Across Its Platform

Followers of the bonkers conspiracy theory have shared hashtags across the fitness app

peloton qanon

Last week, Facebook finally began cracking down on the false QAnon conspiracy theory, a far-right movement that alleges President Donald Trump is working with high-ranking intelligence officials to defeat a coven of Satantic pedophiles. The insane theory originated on shady networks like 4chan and 8chan, before climbing up the social chain to Reddit, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

In an year typified by dangerous misinformation from the right — from mocking the public health response to the pandemic, to questioning the efficacy of mail-in voting — QAnon has found a rabid, increasingly mainstream audience. Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Green is running on a QAnon platform, celebrities like Roseanne Barr and Curt Schilling have backed the conspiracy online, foreign countries (especially Germany) are embracing it, and just last Friday, we charted its support amongst Instagram influencers.

And now, according to a tweet from Drew Goins, a reporter with The Washington Post, QAnon has even infiltrated our favorite stationary bicycle.

As of early last week, QAnon’s primary hashtags — #Q and #WWGWGA, the second of which refers to the movement’s motto “Where We Go One, We Go All” — were both available via search on Peloton’s social platform. Peloton’s community aspect, for those unaware, has helped make the bike so popular: Peloton Members tend to cycle with the same instructors, ride with each other, and send “high fives.” It’s also possible to filter by followers, age or gender when exploring the platform.

In essence, that makes Peloton an online gathering place of sorts. And as dangerous and disappointing as the development is, it feels somewhat inevitable that dozens of wackos tried to turn their morning workout into another outlet for defeating the “deep state.” But according to Goins, Peloton was having none of it. The hashtags were officially removed by the end of the week and the communities no longer exist.

Peloton obviously doesn’t want its name dragged through the mud in a successful year — its quarterly sales jumped 61% during the lockdown — but bottom line, they saw traces of what’s been described as a “militarized social movement” at their door, and promptly put their foot down. In an era of damage control, it’s refreshing to see a modern brand disavow abject craziness the second it sees it.