On July 2nd, 2016, someone calling himself FBIAnon, who claimed to be a "high-level analyst and strategist" for the bureau, hosted an Ask Me Anything forum on 4chan.
He claimed to be leaking government secrets – á la Edward Snowden – out of a love for country, but it wasn't always clear which country he meant. They get paid in children as well as money." "Does Hillary have sex with kidnapped girls? Another possible germ of Pizzagate appeared online about 10 hours before Katz posted her story on Facebook.
The revelations overcame Edgar Maddison Welch like a hallucinatory fever.
On December 1st, 2016, the father of two from Salisbury, North Carolina, a man whose pastimes included playing Pictionary with his family, tried to persuade two friends to join a rescue mission.
For more than 20 years, a 60-year-old attorney named Cynthia Campbell has practiced law out of her bungalow-style home in Joplin.
In April, I began trying to contact her, asking if she was behind the initial Pizzagate post.
She never explicitly denied posting the comment that started Pizzagate. "It strains the imagination to think how Campbell – a cat lady in Missouri – had pieced together not only the story that Clinton was a sex-trafficking pedophile, but its details: NYPD officials, Weiner's laptop, Jeffrey Epstein's private jet.
Anthony Weiner (the husband of Clinton's close aide Huma Abedin), who had been caught texting lewd messages to a 15-year-old.
On Facebook, a user named Carmen Katz wrote, "My NYPD source said its much more vile and serious than classified material on Weiner's device. We're talking an international child enslavement and sex ring." Krist Novoselic on How to Stop Fake News Without Congress Nirvana bassist and electoral-reform activist writes that citizen investors have the power to stop fake news on social media – even if Congress won't Katz's Facebook profile listed her residence as Joplin, Missouri.
What's different about Pizzagate, says Samuel Woolley, a leading expert in computational propaganda, is it was "retweeted and picked up by some of the most powerful faces of American politics."The original Pizzagate Facebook post appeared on the evening of October 29th, 2016, a day after then-FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would be reopening its investigation into Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state.
Data from the server had been found on electronics belonging to former Rep.