Popular furniture retailer Wayfair is at the heart of the latest viral conspiracy theory. Circulating in mid-July, the conspiracy claims that Wayfair’s website serves as a front for human trafficking. This idea stems from the exorbitant prices of seemingly inexpensive products; the different names of the products raises eyebrows as well.
— Darrian (@darrianperdue) July 10, 2020
Naturally, Wayfair vehemently denied any involvement in such a horrible crime and countered that this conspiracy is wholly unfounded. In an email to Heavy, Wayfair wrote, “There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced.”
However, the products in question were quickly removed from the website after the theory began to circulate. In response to this, Wayfair said: “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.”
Polaris, the organization responsible for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, has received hundreds of calls detailing concern about the intentions of the online furniture retailer. Polaris stated that they take these calls very seriously, but the overwhelming amount of them makes helping people who are certifiably in danger more difficult. The organization also noted that none of these reports contained any information that had not already gone viral, nor had they any specific information on the missing children.
A group that fights human trafficking says calls about the bogus Wayfair theory are clogging up their lines and making it "more difficult for the Trafficking Hotline to provide support and attention to others who are in need of help." pic.twitter.com/FHe1Kwul8Y
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) July 20, 2020
The conspiracy theory began on Reddit (as most do) but quickly went viral on Twitter. The cabinets were priced around $13,000- $14,000 but were seemingly underwhelming and basic cabinets. The names of these uber-expensive cabinets were also names of recently missing children — causing many people to believe that this was a front for human trafficking.
Snopes, a fact-checking website, pointed out that some of the missing children in reference had solved cases as well.
This conspiracy theory has some meat to it but seems to be debunked (for now!).