Internet conspiracy theories are buzzing everywhere. They talk about politics, crimes, and the government. While most are harmless, the rise of fake news is starting to rear its ugly head, and it is not looking good for society.
One internet conspiracy based on fake news sparked a man to open fire at a DC pizzeria, says Fox News.
This story is a prime example of how quickly and toxic fake news can be, and it all centers around a false story started about Hillary Clinton that spiraled out of control.
An entire neighborhood in D.C. was on lockdown when a man brandishing a gun approached a pizzeria that a fake news channel linked up with a child sex ring.
The suspect, Edgar Maddison Welch, who was only 28 years old, walked inside the Comet Ping Pong carrying his assault rifle and pointed it at an employee. He fired a few shots, says The Washington Post.
After he was arrested, Welch told officers that he was investigating claims that the pizzeria was linked to a child sex ring. It was all circling around to a conspiracy theory that spawned in the internet and linked to Hillary Clinton.
While it sounds outrageous, Welch was far from the first to get roped into the false news.
Just one week before the election, Michael Flynn, the man that has been selected as President-elect Trump’s security adviser, shared the same story online. Thousands of others were sharing it on social media and via email as well.
Pizza Gate and How It Starts
Pizza Gate is the name that has been given to false news stories, says CNN. These false news stories surrounded the pizzeria in D.C., saying that the owner was involved in a child sex ring. The owner has denied the charges, and no complaints have been made with law enforcement about such claims. Employees and the business have been threatened on social media since the start of the fake news stories circulating the web.
When Welch entered the pizzeria that Saturday, he was there to find out if the stories were true. After his arrest, he was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
Just a month before, the same pizzeria was threatened. This fake news story speculated that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta were involved in the illegal operations. The fake stories continued even though the owner declared them untrue.
An Example of How Dangerous Fake News Is
This story is just an example of how dangerous fake news stories are and how they are driving the thoughts of American citizens. Already fake news has been accused of driving the vote in Trump’s favor, and thousands believed the Pizza Gate story, which was entirely false. Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the pizzeria, nor did her campaign chairman.
Those spreading false news are putting the rest of the public in harm’s way. After all, armed gunmen may show up at a local place to investigate or hurt someone because of what they heard on fake news.