Secret Message Board Drives 'Pizzagate'-Style Harassment Campaign of Small Businesses - NBC 7 San Diego
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Secret Message Board Drives 'Pizzagate'-Style Harassment Campaign of Small Businesses

The harassment comes from a group of fervent online conspiracists who have been targeting private businesses and individuals

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    Jose Luis Magana/AP, File
    This Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, shows the entrance to Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, in Washington, which became the center of an outlandish online conspiracy theory.

    In January, conspiracy theorists littered the Instagram and Facebook accounts of Toronto-based ice cream chain Sweet Jesus with accusations and menacing comments. They posted the shop’s advertisements to their own social media accounts and tagged them #PedoGate. Others took their campaign offline, calling the company’s shops and threatening employees.

    The harassment comes from a group of fervent online conspiracists who have been targeting private businesses and individuals with harassment campaigns and accusations of being involved with child-sex trafficking rings, NBC News reported.

    Sparked by a video posted on a popular YouTube conspiracy channel, the group, whose members are also largely followers of the Qanon conspiracy theory, has flooded Instagram posts and Facebook pages of small businesses and left Yelp reviews accusing the owners of child sex trafficking.

    The group is fueled in part by a website called Big League Politics, a far-right media outlet that often publishes conspiracy content and has been used to raise funds for prominent Republican politicians.

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    (Published Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018)