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How An Online Conspiracy Community Is Using #SaveTheChildren To Attract New Believers

A protestor holds a sign during a "Save our Children" rally outside Downing Street in London, England. Conspiracy theorists have recently coopted #SaveTheChildren to find new followers.
A protestor holds a sign during a "Save our Children" rally outside Downing Street in London, England. Conspiracy theorists have recently coopted #SaveTheChildren to find new followers.

#SaveTheChildren doesn’t mean what it used to mean. That’s because social media companies have recently tried to crack down in on accounts and pages linked to the dangerous conspiracy known as QAnon.

Now, the online movement’s backers are trying to rebrand and attract new believers. QAnon believers are trying to use the anti-child trafficking movement to attract new audiences, including American moms. These efforts include Instagram posts, YouTube videos, Facebook posts and almost always include the hashtag #SaveTheChildren.

The posts have reached groups far outside the conspiracy’s usual adherents. Kelly Dodd of The Real Housewives of Orange County shared a post using the hashtag. And signs referencing the hashtag have also appeared at in-person right-wing rallies.

Why did conspiracists begin using the hashtag? And what will the use mean for actual advocates fighting against child trafficking?

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

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