Clinton with Podesta Alex Wong/Getty Images

自由言论和假新闻

普林斯顿——去年11月美国总统大选一周前,有人在推特上发帖称,希拉里·克林顿是一个恋童癖团伙的核心成员。有人通过社交媒体不断散播谣言,还有一位右翼脱口秀节目主持人亚历克斯·琼斯反复指控她参与虐待儿童,还指控她的竞选主席约翰·波德斯塔参与撒旦的邪恶仪式。在一段YouTube视频中(后来被删除),琼斯提到“希拉里·克林顿亲手谋杀、切碎和强奸的所有儿童。”这段视频在大选前四天被上传至网络,并被观看超过400,000次。

维基解密发布的电子邮件显示波德斯塔有时会去华盛顿特区一家名叫彗星乒乓的比萨饼餐厅就餐。显然因为这个原因,儿童性团伙的指控就聚焦这座比萨饼餐厅,并采用了#比萨门的主题标签。旨在散播某类信息的机器人程序大肆转发上述指控——给人留下的印象是很多民众都在严肃探讨“比萨门”。令人吃惊的是,迈克尔·弗林将军也转发了这则推特,而这位将军很快就将成为当选总统唐纳德·特朗普的国家安全顾问。

即使在特朗普胜选后——虽然谎言被《纽约时报》《华盛顿邮报》所拆穿——这则故事仍然继续传播。彗星乒乓餐厅经常接到辱骂、往往还带有威胁意味的骚扰电话。当餐厅经理向华盛顿警方求助时,他被告知谣言是受到宪法保护的言论。

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