A Daedalnexus public service announcement
I’ve recently been engaging with anti-mask people on Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ official and personal Facebook pages and occasionally on his Twitter feed. Yesterday I noticed a large drop in the number of what have become the usual bullshit claims that masks aren’t effective (they are), the death rate is < 1% (it’s actually 3.2% nationally and 3.5% in Colorado as of 8/5/2020), it's no worse than the flu (it is), and that mask mandates aren’t Constitutional (they are). Instead, lots of people were sharing new bullshit memes and screaming (often in all caps) about how children were more likely to be sex trafficked than die of COVID and the like.
So I got curious where this new approach originated. And it didn't take long for me to figure it out.
This originated with QAnon.
If you’re unfamiliar, among the many interrelated conspiracy theories that QAnon has spun together is the idea that there is an Illuminati-like cabal of “elite pedophiles” in politics, business, and entertainment who are sex trafficking children, usually with some connection to Jeffery Epstein. Somehow Donald Trump is the good guy here (the many photos of him with Epstein notwithstanding) because he’s supposedly taking down the cabal, but in this case QAnon’s pro-Trumpism isn’t significantly relevant except to note that it’s a massive internal inconsistency that most QAnon conspiracy theorists conveniently explain away.
Essentially, QAnon theorists took advantage of the United Nations’ World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30 and successfully corrupted two Facebook and Twitter hashtags, #savethechildren and #endhumantrafficking with their pedophilia conspiracy theories.
So as a public service announcement, if you see people sharing memes like those in this post or making similar claims, there’s a very good chance that they are either a QAnon believer themselves or someone who uncritically accepts the bullshit of other QAnoners among their friends and family.