Clinton with Podesta Alex Wong/Getty Images

La libertad de expresión y las noticias falsas

PRINCETON – Cerca de una semana antes de las elecciones presidenciales en Estados Unidos en noviembre pasado, alguien publicó en Twitter que Hillary Clinton era parte central de un círculo pedofílico. El rumor se propagó por las redes sociales y un presentador de derechas llamado Alex Jones señaló varas veces que Clinton estaba implicada en abusos sexuales a niños y que su jefe de campaña, John Podesta, participaba en ritos satánicos. En un vídeo de YouTube (que ya se ha eliminado), Jones hablaba de “todos los niños que Hillary Clinton ha asesinado, descuartizado y violado”. Se publicó cuatro días antes de las elecciones y fue visto 400.000 veces.

Por los correos electrónicos difundidos por WikiLeaks se supo que Podesta cenaba a veces en una pizzería de Washington llamada Comet Ping Pong. Parece ser que por eso las acusaciones sobre el círculo pedofílico se centraron en ese lugar, dando origen al hashtag #pizzagate. Muchos de los retuits de las acusaciones se originan en “bots” o programas diseñados para difundir ciertos tipos de mensajes, ayudando así a dar la impresión de que mucha gente se estaba tomando el “pizzagate” en serio. Increíblemente, la historia también fue retuiteada por el General Michael Flynn, que pronto será asesor de seguridad nacional del Presidente electo Donald Trump.

Incluso después de la elección de Trump (y a pesar de que el New York Times y el Washington Post la desacreditaran), la historia siguió difundiéndose. El Comet Ping Pong recibió llamadas telefónicas constantes, abusivas y a veces amenazantes. Cuando el gerente se comunicó con la policía de la ciudad, le dijeron que los rumores eran parte de la libertad de expresión protegida por la constitución.

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