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But of course that couldn’t be the end of it, because this is 2020, and people with too much time on their hands love tying mundane happenings to vast conspiracies—the sale of human lives in particular. As Insider first detailed, one of the more notable examples involved one Instagram poster claimed the links in the text were planted to covertly track the location of vulnerable women, to eventually traffic them, rather than acting as a malware vector to steal their credit card numbers. Similar posts have been seen circulating across Facebook, with one becoming viral enough that Facebook eventually felt the need to note that the claims the user were making were, indeed false—but only after thousands of users had shared it, Qanon diehards co-opted it, and an untold number of women got way more freaked out than they had any need to be.
These rumors got so bad that the Polaris Project—a nonprofit that combats trafficking—put out a statement begging people to stop flooding their real sex trafficking hotline with this completely unverified horseshit. It’s sadly not the first time, either. The organization had to do the same when its phone lines were flooded with similar “tips” regarding the e-commerce giant Wayfair, which can naturally also be sourced back to the Qanon community.
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