A search for some major celebrities or companies could toss up a whole lot of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube, according to a new report by NBC News. The report suggests that followers of a new conspiracy theory called QAnon have managed to overrun YouTube, and searches for celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Mexican cement maker Cemex all lead to a bunch of videos that publicize false allegations and baseless accusations against these celebrities and companies.
The conspiracy theory suggests various things, including alleging that celebrities and prominent politicians are part of a child sex trafficking network. The theory is propounded primarily by followers of US President Donald Trump, and is targeted at top celebrities and corporations that have typically spoken out against the US President and the policies of the US Government during his tenure.
This is what happens when you search Tom Hanks on YouTube today.
Last week, Qanon folks decided he was a pedophile. If you were to search YouTube today, you'd believe it. pic.twitter.com/OQfL97YOWz
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) July 30, 2018
NBC News reporter Ben Collins was able to capture screen shots of major searches on YouTube where the conspiracy theory videos seem to be dominating the results. While search results might be organic and often based on what viewers want to see, these videos tend to propagate false and unsubstantiated news, and could harm the image of many of these individuals and companies for no reason at all.
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Most of the allegations focus on pedophilia and child trafficking, and tend to take a political angle. Cemex, for example, earned the wrath of Trump supporters last year when it issued a statement that it would not contribute any resources towards the building of the border wall, a key election promise by the current US President. Similarly, other outspoken critics of Trump have also been targeted.