Speed Reads


Conspiracy theorists turned Tom Hanks' YouTube search results into pedophilia accusations

If you tried to rewatch Tom Hanks' starring role in a Carly Rae Jepsen music video Monday, you may have thought the actor was slammed with a career-ending scandal.

Searching "Tom Hanks" on YouTube on Monday morning produced multiple videos alleging Hanks was a pedophile, posted by users such as "END TIME PROPHECY NEWS." Don't worry, they aren't true. But thanks to followers of a conspiracy theory known as QAnon, fringe videos that usually wouldn't crack a few dozen views made it to the top of the results, NBC News' Ben Collins pointed out.

QAnon follows the musings of Q, an unknown person who apparently has high-level government intelligence and has been posting his very right-wing "findings" online since last September. It's since transformed into an all-out conspiracy, with followers convinced Special Counsel Robert Mueller is actually investigating Hillary Clinton and that Hollywood liberals are intent on destroying the world, per The Daily Beast. QAnoners have marched in Washington, D.C., count Roseanne Barr among their ranks, and are now big enough to influence YouTube's search algorithm.

YouTube searches for "Cemex," a Mexican cement company, similarly turned up child trafficking accusations Monday. "Steven Spielberg" produced pedophilia accusations as well. These untrue theories recently surfaced within QAnon, Collins tweeted, and as more followers watched the conspiracy videos, the clips surged to the top of YouTube's results.

By Monday afternoon, search results for Hanks appeared to be back to normal, and YouTube has yet to comment on the incident. But this is just another example of QAnon's infiltration beyond the web, and sources speculate it could become the next Pizzagate.