Fake news, stories dreamed up by people for fun and profit and then circulated on social media as truth, is a growing problem. Sure, everyone can have an opinion, but now more people want their own facts. Once they find something that validates their feelings and positions, the spread the stories to everyone they know, proclaiming it to the truth. Take a look at FakeNewsWatch.com to see how widespread the problem is.
This brings me to Pizzagate, a bizarre conspiracy theory that originated somewhere deep in the Wikileaks email dumps before the US election. A series of fake news stories spread the rumour that the Clintons and other government people were involved in a global human trafficking ring that was also involved in pedophilia–an “international child enslavement ring” that was exposed after going through the emails of disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, husband of Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s right-hand woman.
Reddit, 4chan and Trump supporters leaped on the story, augmenting and spreading the misinformation in a global game of telephone. Without going through all the threads (Buzzfeed does that here), it all boiled down to this: the pedo ring was being run out of a DC pizza restaurant and music venue called Club Ping Pong. How? The emails! It’s right there! They’re talking in pizza-related code (seriously; that’s what the theorists said), but it’s right in front of your faces, sheeple! There’s even a big refrigerated room in the basement where they keep the bodies!
The whole thing was bullshit, of course, but things quickly spiraled out of control. On Sunday (Dec 4) 28-year-old Edgar Madison Welch showed up at Club Ping Pong with an assault rifle, saying he was determined to “self-investigate” Pizzagate. He was taken into custody after he allegedly pointed his gun at an employee before squeezing off a shot. No one was hurt.
Fake news is a growing problem. Before you forward anything, make sure you have the truth–the REAL truth.