MSNBC's Ali Velshi reports on the popular internet conspiracy theory alleging that a government insider named "Q" is leaving coded messages for Trump fans on message boards like 4chan, describing the president's "secret plan" to arrest the network of "deep state" pedophiles described in the also-widespread 2016 "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory.
"Apple and Google have vowed to fight fake news and conspiracy theories -- but they are also profiting from it," Velshi reported. "The tech giants sold an app in their stores called "Q Drops" ... [which is] linked to the conspiracy theory chain Q Anon, which is described as an offshoot of the Pizzagate fiction, which claims Hillary Clinton ran a child sex trafficking ring out a basement of a Washington D.C. pizza shop (that didn't even have a basement)."
"Many of the more than 1,700 posts, which fans call 'bread crumbs' are vague, making it tough to nail down an exact storyline, but the main theme here is that Hillary Clinton and many of the world's other politicians and celebrities are members of a murderous child sex cult. And President Trump has secretly created a police force to arrest them and force them to wear ankle bracelets."
The "breadcrumb" Velshi displayed on screen did not seem to make any claims like that, but instead implied the claims were a Trump-style cry for attention, noting, "Disinformation is real. Disinformation is necessary," and asking, "Why was this necessary? What questions were asked? Why is this relevant?"
"There are people who actually believe this stuff," Velshi said. "It sounds wild, but it has thousands of followers who have spread the Qanon theory to the rest of the world -- using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites and message boards."
"So what does all of this have to do with Apple and Google?" he asked. "Well, the companies made money whenever someone bought the Q Drops app in the app stores."
Velshi also noted that while Apple removed the apps after being contacted by NBC News, Google has yet to respond, where it remains on sale for 99 cents. A company like Apple or Google normally take between 15-30% of the price of an app hosted in their store.
"The people behind Q Drops tweeted that they are working with Apple to get it back in the app store, Velshi also said.