Wayfair, the online furniture and home goods retailer, denied a bizarre conspiracy theory that trended on Twitter, claiming the company was behind child sex trafficking and its expensive cabinets were involved. The social media speculation went wild after a Reddit user claimed there was something strange about the cabinets listed on its website for $12,699.99 and $14,99.99. Wayfair later deleted the listings, which only resulted in the conspiracy theory to spiral further.
A company spokesman told Business Insider there was "no truth" to the claims being spread on social media. "The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced," the company said. "Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from the site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point."
The conspiracy can be traced to a Thursday Reddit post showing the utility closets and cabinets priced over $10,000, notes Snopes. The Reddit user provided no evidence. "Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection?" the Reddit post read. "Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this makes me sick to my stomach if it's true :(." The original Reddit post has over 1,200 comments
Twitter users picked up on the theory, sharing screenshots of other expensive products on the Wayfair site. One Twitter user compared a $99 shower curtain with a $9,999 curtain, which was somehow more "evidence" that Wayfair was working in child trafficking. Others searched for more "evidence," with some claiming that if you searched for a specific SKU number associated with one of the expensive items, then typed a particular search term before them on a Russian search engine, you will find images of young children. However, Snopes notes that if you include that search team with any random numbers, you get similar results.
Other social media users claimed the names of the expensive items were connected to missing children. For example, some claimed the "Anabel 5-shelf storage unit" was linked to Anabel Wilson, a Kansas teenager who was reported missing in February. Sadly, about 800,000 children are reported missing each year, which means products can carry the same name of a missing child by coincidence.