We do know this: Paul had to deal with an error in thinking and teaching which led to an error in living. This error made God remote and undermined the person of Christ. The overemphasis by some on self-denial and ascetism produced a reaction of moral looseness on the part of others.
Although we are not able to pinpoint the exact sources of the heresy, the elements of the false teaching included: (1) an inadequate view of Christ; (2) improper emphasis on ceremony; (3) some form of angel worship; (4) an extreme and unnecessary form of self-denial; (5) overemphasis on tradition; and (6) tolerance of immorality.
The key word is influence. An array of ideas corrupted the simple teaching of the gospel and our Lord Jesus Christ. So the problem was maligned truth. The stage was set for Paul to write a letter to reassert the truth. The elaboration of truth will dispel error.