John McAfee, an explosive software pioneer and occasional yachting fugitive, passed away over a month ago. His widow, his lawyer, and the Spanish government, where McAfee died in a prison cell, confirm that he died.
Just don’t tell it to the more than 130,000 people who have followed a string of newly created Telegram accounts claiming to belong to McAfee still alive.
In his lifetime, McAfee was an anti-virus software entrepreneur who would later engage in failed presidential bids on the Liberal Party line, preaching cryptocurrency, conspiracy theories, living on the lofty seas, New Age healings, murders, and allegations of sexual assault (he was) unaccused. ) and according to prosecutors, millions of dollars in tax evasion. He died in a Spanish cell on June 23, apparently a suicide, while awaiting extradition to the United States on tax charges.
McAfee’s larger-than-life personality and some of his fringe attitudes made him a popular hero in conspiracy movements like QAnon, which McAfee referred to even during his lifetime. Shortly following McAfee’s death, in fact, his Instagram account — which was run by other people while in prison — posted a big “Q” photo, sparking a flurry of conspiratorial chatter.
Posting ‘Q’ to John McAfee’s Instagram page unleashes a wave of conspiracy
The Instagram account was later removed. But starting in mid-July, three accounts appeared on the Telegram platform, all allegedly lifeless McAfee. Since then, these accounts have succeeded in gaining followers by paying obfuscated QAnon-like processes and providing a countdown clock to discoveries that were never – shockingly – come true. Now, artificial McAfee accounts are stirring up discord in the QAnon world, and intriguing QAnon’s longtime audience .
Former McAfee attorney Andrew Gordon asserted that the accounts were illegal.
“I was in close contact with John’s widow, Janice McAfee, who recognized the body a few weeks ago,” Gordon told The Daily Beast. “There is no reason to doubt that John may still be alive, and certainly not that he will operate any Telegram channels he did not begin prior his death.”
But the novels, released between July 18 and July 22, went so far as to appear as McAfee, even preemptively attacking Gordon.
On July 20, the largest account (currently over 125,000 subscribers) wrote an introductory post claiming, “I would describe myself as sane and mild, which is why I’m still alive. John McAfee.”
She then published several McAfee personal documents, and a short memo against Gordon, whom she accused of profiting from McAfee. Other smaller artificial McAfee accounts (including one that launched for 2 days Before largest channel) copy and paste the alike message.
In fact, those supposedly identifiable documents, including a McAfee rifle license scan from 2012, were simple to obtain online. A multimedia documentary group, for example, attempts to sell copies of documents as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a form of digital art. McAfee Telegram channels seem to copy McAfee documents directly from the online documentary group listings, even going so far as to urge people to join the documentary group’s chatroom.
Telegram channel admins are not listed on the platform and therefore cannot be reached for comment on this story. But when reached for comment, the director of the chat room for the documentary group The Daily Beast told that his organization had nothing to do with the McAfee scammers, and that they were confused by claims that the subject of their project was still alive.
“We are not associated with that Telegram, and we have no idea who is or who is pushing these conspiracy theories,” the official said. “As far as we know, John David McAfee is already lifeless and not alive. The alike goes for Elvis and Tupac. [sic] We’re documentary, maybe the folks at ghost hunters can aid.”
However, Telegram accounts appear to be well-versed in conspiracy theories regarding McAfee.
In July 2019, online investigators assumed that McAfee runs a YouTube channel that uploaded drone footage of Jeffrey Epstein having pedophilia. (The Daily Dot questioned the theory at the time, noting that some of the uploads had occurred while McAfee was in prison.) That YouTube account stopped about a year ago, then resumed posting pro-Trump videos in beforetime July. . McAfee Telegram accounts have been linked to the account’s unused videos multiple times.
Not all Telegram references are conspiratorial references. Shortly following its launch, the accounts began spreading messages encrypted in the style of the QAnon conspiracy theory. In mixed messages, the publications claimed the imminent release of information about Donald Trump’s enemies. Despite the countdown clock included in some of the messages, the predicted moment (beforetime final Friday morning) came and went without any announcement. In responses to McAfee’s artificial posts, fans have tried to “decrypt” messages, asking each other if they know how to access the “dismal web” for more information.
QAnon fans are no strangers to disappointment, of course. “Q,” the anonymous predecessor of their theory, reassured followers for years that Hillary Clinton or her allies were about to be arrested, or that Trump was about to expose a child sex trafficking plot by his political opponents. These prophecies were never fulfilled, and Q has since stopped publishing them.
In Keough’s absence, a network of conspiring influencers attempted to adopt the movement’s followers. Some of these second-rate paranoids seem to have taken issue with the artificial McAfee accounts, which represent a potential unused prophet operating on their land.
“I usually never call people,” one of those big accounts told his 145,000+ followers on Monday. “But this here needs calls [FAKE] [INFILTRATION]. The account continued to implicate the artificial McAfees in a conspiracy theory about China.
The final hours of John McAfee
Ron Watkins, another eminent QAnon influencer, also denounced McAfees as dupes. Watkins is a previous administrator of the site where “Q” was used to post, and has been the subject of a documentary series accusing him of personal control of the “Q” account. (Watkins denies this claim.)
On Sunday, Watkins warned McAfee account followers against picking the QAnon fandom. (Cannot be reached for comment.)
John McAfee’s Telegram account was not [sic] announces nothing at the end of the countdown.” None of the alleged 31TB of switch data for the deadman has verified. His account is now posting Q-style drops and signing her as McAfee. Be watchful.”
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