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Terrifying Rumors About White Vans are Circulating on Facebook

Terrifying rumors initially propelled by Facebook’s algorithms have sparked fears that men driving white vans are kidnapping women all across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts.

MENLO PARK, CA — Terrifying rumors initially propelled by Facebook’s algorithms have sparked fears that men driving white vans are kidnapping women all across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts.

While there is no evidence to suggest this is happening, much less on a national, coordinated scale, a series of viral Facebook posts created a domino effect that led to the mayor of a major American city issuing a warning based on the unsubstantiated claims.

The latest online-induced panic shows how viral Facebook posts can stoke paranoia and make people believe that spotting something as common as a white van, can be deemed suspicious and connected to a nationwide cabal.

Indeed, while there is no hard evidence of any such phenomenon, unconfirmed reports of suspicious white vans in cities across the US have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook in recent weeks and have been seen by potentially millions of Facebook users. At least one person who drives a white van has reported being harassed for it as a result of the rumors.

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