Thursday, August 26, 2021

TikTokers have accused a random business by the Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles of being involved in human trafficking

From a long Mashable article about Randonautica, an app that "sends users on a local adventure by generating random GPS coordinates within a certain radius of the user's location":

An unproven conspiracy theory circulating on TikTok alleges that multiple businesses near a non-commercial airport in California are complicit in a child trafficking ring. The clips have since racked up millions of views.

It all started with a Randonautica video. 


[A] TikTok creator...claimed that the app led him to a "suspicious" industrial area the first time he used it. He set his intention to going "deeper in the mystery of life" in an effort to "glitch out the matrix." The app, he said, brought him to a cabinet store coincidentally named Matrix.

In the first video, posted in July 2020, [he] said he was suspicious of the porn-viewing booth manufacturer and Star Trek toy company that neighbored Matrix. 


TikTok users are running with it. There isn't much of a unified theory, and like how most conspiracy theories play out, [he] and his followers are making any connection they can to justify their belief in this human trafficking ring.


The series has nearly 5 million views collectively, which is modest for TikTok standards, but overwhelming for the businesses named. [He] posted videos "investigating" these places in person this month, and emboldened by his visits, viewers flooded the businesses with calls accusing them of human trafficking.