Arizona couple’s role in Wayfair human trafficking conspiracy

A screencap from Maddie and Justin Thompson's 40-minute Instagram Live video posted on July 10. The couple reveals that they bought a desk that cost at least $17,000 from Wayfair to see whether they would receive "grooming calls" from the company amid a viral conspiracy theory that the website is used to traffic children.

Last weekend, an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that online furnishings retailer Wayfair is trafficking children through listings of products with inflated prices and human names erupted on social media.

An Arizona couple helped fuel the rumor by posting on Instagram that they had purchased a $17,000 desk from Wayfair and would share their experience with their followers.

The theory that pillows and cabinets being sold at https://www.wayfair.com for thousands of dollars is somehow evidence of a child trafficking scheme has been debunked by independent fact-checking publication Snopes as well as Reuters and the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact. It gained traction through a July 9 Reddit post on a forum dedicated to discussing conspiracy theories, Snopes notes.

Maddie and Justin Thompson, of Gilbert, are not convinced.

“There is not one person in this world who can tell me this is not true right now,” Maddie Thompson said in a 40-minute livestreamed Instagram video on July 10. “This cannot be stated as false until it is proven false.”

The video appears to have been taken down on July 14. Instagram has not answered a request for comment.

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