Wayfair Trafficking Conspiracy

by Jacqueline Pernice

September 14, 2020

 Shocker, right? You would have never thought such a thing would be associated with the most innocent, harmless furniture store. Even as bizarre as it may sound, rumors have blasted the internet, stemming off this singular question. 

   When this question reached the surface of the internet, it was not long before all sorts of responses came pouring in. Comments ranged from all sides of the spectrum, even as far as matching some of the Wayfair products to those of missing children. This hearsay has since spread from Facebook to Instagram, to YouTube, and so on. 

    As the days went on, the reports had reached a national human trafficking hotline. The calls became more and more frequent, drowning them in solicitations and distracting them from other important issues. As a response, Wayfair responded to the accusations with a simple, “There is, of course, no truth to these claims”.

   Kathryn Olmsted, a professor who studies conspiracy theories at the University of California, made an excellent point. She stated that “Conspiracy theorists always managed to spread their theories in the past, but the internet has made this much easier… If you believe in one, you believe in another. You start collecting them.”

   These allegations actually all began on an app called TikTok.  It was one of the first social media platforms to bring the theory up to the public. While TikTok may not seem like the place for child-trafficking accusations to end up, videos with the hashtags  #Wayfairconspiracy and #WayfairGate exploded, reaching over 4.5 million views. 

   One of the biggest things that caught people’s attention was the difference in prices. As The Washington Post stated, “Some social media posts pointed to the high cost of the storage cabinets — which sell for about $13,000 each — as a suspect. Wayfair, however, said the steel structures were priced correctly for industrial use. A pillow listed for $9,999 also fueled suspicion, but was an error, the company said”. They went on to say that one of the overpriced cabinets, named Samiyah, was coincidentally named after a young woman, Samiyah Mumin, a missing person last seen in Ohio. 

   TikTok also took its chance and debunked several parts of the theory, however that didn’t stop the snowball from rolling. As stated by The Washington Post, “Other posts shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter connected the name of one of Wayfair’s cabinets, Samiyah, to an outdated missing person report for an Ohio girl named Samiyah Mumin, claiming it was proof that the company is trafficking young girls.”A video was later broadcast by a woman who professed to be Mumin, stating that the missing reports were, in fact, false. She was in no way missing. 

   Despite the attempts to shut down the numerous allegations, the rumors continue to spread, digging deep into Wayfair’s furniture and decor. Who would have known so much could be spun on an unexpecting decor store based off of one simple, somewhat out there, question?

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