The Brief: Online, conspiracy theorists are suggesting that Wayfair is involved in human trafficking. Evidence for these theories is based on speculation about overpriced items and Wayfair has denied such claims.
Conspiracy theories about the online furniture retailer Wayfair being involved in the human trafficking of children are largely unfounded and based on speculation and rumors rather than facts. Theories first took off on Thursday, July 9, after Reddit user PrincessPeach1987 posted about it on the subreddit r/conspiracy.
The post asked if Wayfair was involved in human trafficking, citing a high-priced cabinet from WFX Utility as the root of their suspicion.
Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this makes me sick to my stomach if it’s true 🙁 from conspiracy
In the comments section of this post, Reddit users speculated about the possibility that the names of the cabinets “Neriah,” “Yaritza,” “Samiyah,” and “Alyvia” were names of missing children. Some commenters directed people to the Russian search engine Yandex.com to input the SKU numbers for the products, suggesting that they’d find potentially inappropriate images of children. Other users debunked this, noting that any search with the SKU prefix “Src USA” brought up pictures of children.
Newsweek interviewed the Reddit user PrincessPeach1987 who told them that their post was not a direct accusation, but attempt to “see if anyone else had more details.”
In response to questions about high-priced cabinets, Wayfair told Newsweek in a statement:
“There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced. Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from the site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point.”
Although unrelated to human trafficking, Wayfair has been the subject of controversy in the past. In 2019, company employees organized a walkout to protest Wayfair’s sale to a government contractor furnishing a federal detention center for migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although the human trafficking theory is unsubstantiated, it has spread online, causing Wayfair to trend on Twitter where theorists are linking it to Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracies, suggesting that the financial and political elite are involved in this supposed trafficking. Some people have been sharing images of overpriced pillows with names that match those of missing children. In addition to pointing out when information is downright fabricated, many people are debunking these theories by suggesting that a pricing error is a more likely explanation than a secret child sex trafficking ring.
Pizzagate/QAnon people have Wayfair trending today. They falsely claim price glitches on storage boxes prove that the company is trafficking children.
This took off because of a post on Reddit's r/conspiracy subreddit yesterday, which is a clearinghouse for anonymous paranoia.
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) July 10, 2020
Y’all this Wayfair Human trafficking thing is crazy. Look at this, there are two pillows/shower curtains that are the exact same, but one is $100 and the other is $10K. The $10K one is named the same thing as a Black girl missing in Michigan… pic.twitter.com/1fFmrIBgxJ
— all black lives matter (@zarimx) July 10, 2020
Just saw #Wayfair was trending. I’ve always wondered which larger companies could be involved in human trafficking sales. This is unsubstantiated, but very notable to look into 👀 pic.twitter.com/QJSigCKyw3
— Q The Wake Up (@QTheWakeUp) July 10, 2020
This Wayfair child trafficking has me in a DEEP black hole pic.twitter.com/xzT5wdOv2j
— priscilla (@prizzkilla) July 10, 2020
The recent Wayfair conspiracy theory is largely based on speculation, paranoia, and misleading information. It should be noted that the majority of child victims of sexual violence know the perpetrator. Human trafficking and child predation are serious issues that should not be ignored, but spreading false conspiracy theories does nothing to protect real victims of such violence.