It all started in November 2016, when the emails of John Podesta, the Clinton campaign manager, were hacked, and the Wikileaks published the messages. One of the emails includes the chat between Alefantis, the owner of D.C pizzeria Comet Ping Pong and Podesta, where Alefantis was going to host a possible fundraiser for Clinton.
After reading the email, 4chan and Reddit’s users claimed that words such as cheese and pizza mentioned in the email were the codes for the young children and sex acts. In December of the same year, the firing was done on the pizzeria’s closet by a gunman with an assault rifle, injuring nobody.
After such a horrible and shameful event, everyone thinks that the Pizzagate theory will be a thing of the past and would fade away in history, but it has continued again. One reason for its comeback is due to online forums such as 4Chan and Reddit, where the news has more weight than taste, common sense in every detail, and reliable reason and these sites mainly show the dark sides of the society.
Similarly, social media, in general, favors offbeat trends as to when sharing the news with friends is another factor in a mutual popularity contest. Initially, when the pizzagate scandal was started, the targeted people were Hillary Clinton, her campaign manager John Podesta, and pizzerias manager James Alefantis. The conspiracists are convinced about the involvement of the well-known figures in the alleged underage sex-trafficking ring as the news is gaining popularity on different platforms and likes from the famous figures.
The website 4Chan’s users started their speculation regarding the links between Comet Ping Pong and the Democratic Party, with one connection burbling to the surface – the pizzeria is the headquarters of a child trafficking ring lead by Clinton and Podesta.
In June, when Justin Bieber went live on his Instagram account, he was asked with the countless questions and comments among which one of the social media users asked him if he were a survivor of child sex trafficking. A user asked him to touch his hat if he had been a victim of pizzagate, and when Bieber touched his hat, the comments flooded from 130 million followers, and the resurgence of pizzagate theories started. Globally, the TikTok users have even created the videos while carefully analyzing his actions, from where the hashtag #savebieber has gone trending. Bieber adjusted the live video, and he makes it look like that he’d never noticed the request before.
While YouTube has tried to eliminate the conspiracy theory about a Democratic child sex dungeon in a Washington Pizzeria by attaching a warning for those searching for the topic on the site. However, nearly after four years, it has begun, and now it is popping all over the TikTok, reaching plenty of young people. The hashtag #pizzagate has crossed 70 million views on TikTok, along with the related hashtags that have also gained the same popularity.