As forest fires burn throughout the western United States, public safety officials are having to deal with misinformation campaigns run by QAnon pages that are falsely accusing antifa activists of committing arson.
NBC News reports that police and local officials are “fighting a wave of misinformation from false rumors spread in neighborhood Facebook groups and on far-right websites that antifa activists were setting the blazes” that have been consuming the West Coast all week.
The rumors have been spread with the help of Facebook pages supportive of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is secretly working to uncover a global pedophile ring run by the Democratic Party.
The Washington-based East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520 this week said that Facebook had become “an absolute cesspool of misinformation” about the fires, and urged everyone to not share any unverified information about the origins of the fires.
However, so far law enforcement officials have been unable to dissuade Trump-loving websites from pushing conspiracy theories.
“Despite protestations from law enforcement, rumors have spread through far-right Facebook groups and news websites like Gateway Pundit and the Post Millennial in stories alleging without evidence that Jeff Acord, a 36-year-old man arrested on charges of starting a fire in Puyallup, Washington, was an ‘antifa militant,'” NBC News reports.