By Emilee Edwards | Photographer
Opening any social media platform, you can find an array of political and social justice-based posts. Lately there has been an influx of conspiracy theories weaved into the mix that have just enough fact to make them seem credible. These types of posts are harmful to movements and take away from the credibility of serious issues.
Earlier this year, a conspiracy theory about Wayfair trafficking children through high priced cabinets surfaced on Twitter. It inspired a surge of posts and protests with the hashtags #saveourchildren and #savethechildren. Both of those notions are noble, protecting children from human trafficking is obviously an important issue, but promoting conspiracy theories is not beneficial.
Opening Facebook, you can find numerous posts accusing the Democratic Party of wanting to make pedophilia legal or of endorsing a high-profile child trafficking ring run by rich and famous people in Hollywood. When you start spreading such blatant misinformation and making a movement political in this way, you are actually harming the victims of human trafficking so much more.
Most victims of human trafficking are trafficked by people they already know: family members, friends or even romantic partners. By spreading misinformation on your Instagram story or Facebook about illusive predators who live in the dark shadows, selling children on discount furniture sites, you are taking the attention off of real and credible threats.
Conspiracy theories harm much more than they help. When talking of “saving the children” you should be aware that the most credible threats are probably within the homes or lives of children already. Creating elaborate stories to make it seem more removed from daily life does nothing for the victims and survivors actually living through something like human trafficking.
Not all conspiracy theories are about human trafficking. Most political propaganda contains conspiracy theories. We have seen numerous stories and tweets about Antifa’s violent actions during the rise of Black Lives Matter protests across the world with very little proof. Promoting fear about an illusive group of people dedicated to destroying the country is harmful and false.
When you begin to radicalize everything and promote fear instead of the facts of the issues, the real problems like racism, social injustice and human trafficking become political when they have always been human rights issues that everyone should believe in fighting for.
When sharing anything on social media, you should always do your own research. It is important to figure out if what you are sharing is helpful or beneficial to the movements or issues you want to bring light to.