by ALEX KAPLAN at mediamatters.org
Far-right online figures are spreading a conspiracy theory claiming the e-commerce platform Etsy is hosting a child trafficking market — reminiscent of the baseless claim that targeted the online furniture and home goods retailer Wayfair in 2020. Some far-right figures are even calling Etsy “the new Wayfair,” as the conspiracy theory spread across X (formerly Twitter), far-right message boards and right-wing platforms, and more mainstream platforms such as Reddit, TikTok, and Meta’s platforms, apparently earning millions of views.
The conspiracy theory about Etsy — which is similar to a 2020 conspiracy theory about Wayfair — claims that certain products on the platform, like those with images showing pizza and children, have anomalously high prices because the actual product for sale is a trafficked child, child sexual abuse material, or something related. The claim that “pizza” is a code word for pedophilia was a key component of the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which was a precursor to the QAnon and Wayfair conspiracy theories.
The Wayfair conspiracy theory, spurred by a QAnon influencer, forced the company to rebut the claims and caused the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the claim. The investigators found no evidence to support any of the allegations.
On December 10, a QAnon-promoting account on X, @NiQole1776, posted that it had discovered pizza-related products selling on Etsy for thousands of dollars, and the account suggested that these products were suspicious, writing, “Don’t let them gaslight you anymore.”