Conspiracy theories are really popping up all over the internet these days – some of them with more credibility and steam than others. Below, we list the top conspiracy theories of 2017, identifying how exactly they started and how much steam they still have today.
1. Manufactured Hurricanes
When Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey struck the United States in Puerto Rico and Texas respectively conspiracy theories began to fly. One of the most popular theories is related to the concept of manufacturing hurricanes to create chaos amongst the American people and also to create more conversations in regards to global warming. This theory is driven by the fact that there is a lot of money to be made off of shifting the American economy away from natural gasses and toward renewable energy.
The theory has been referred to as “weather warfare”, which is said to be using the Alaska-based High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) to create hurricanes on-demand. The conspiracy theories backed by the so-called HAARP technology go far beyond just weather warfare. Some believe that HAARP is even used to harm or even brainwash people.
According to Snopes, “Skeptics point out that HAARP is a low-frequency transmitter that has no power to make hurricanes or enslave minds. Beyond that, HAARP is no longer a government facility, having been donated to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2015. Presumably, if HAARP was a devastating weapon of weather war, the government wouldn’t just give it away.
On the other side of the spectrum, on conservative commentator tried to write the storms off as fake news, trumped up to push a climate change agenda and sell bottled water. This was the theory pushed by Rush Limbaugh, who claimed Hurricane Irma was far weaker than initial reports claimed — only to evacuate himself a few days later.”
2. Las Vegas Shooting
On October 1, 2017, a domestic terrorist by the name opened fire on the Las Vegas strip injuring over 800 people and killing 52 people. He opened fire, pumping over 1100 rounds of ammo into the crowd during a country music festival. Much like the other recent mass shootings, gun control conspiracies began flying around, suggesting that the New World Order is paying people to conduct these mass shootings in an effort to promote more gun control and ultimately obtain all firearms from the American people to have a state-owned weapons arsenal where the people could never overthrow the all-powerful government.
Specifically Snopes reported one conspiracy surfaced stating that there were “multiple shooters firing from several floors, another that the security guard was an accomplice (which culminated in far-right self-described reporters banging on his door, camping out in front of his house, and ultimately reporting, completely falsely, that he had gone missing), and yet another, as happens with all mass shootings in the United States, that the incident was a hoax featuring paid actors posing as victims in an effort to take away gun rights.” While Snopes suggests that this conspiracy is False, the shooter’s motive remains undetermined.
One final conspiracy theory has been floating around suggesting that survivors of the shooting are being systematically murdered to cover up the errors and evidence suggesting that there was more than one shooter that day.
3. ANTIFA Raid
Conspiracy theorists also linked antifa to both the Las Vegas shooting and the mass shooting in Texas a month later, despite no evidence existing that either shooter was part of any anti-fascist movement — or even sympathized with them.
Online commentators also tried to connect a train derailment near Olympia, Washington, to an eight-month-old blog post by a self-proclaimed Antifa group that said they had poured concrete on train tracks 15 miles away from the scene of the accident. As it turned out, the train had been traveling nearly three times the speed limit as it went around a dangerous curve.
It should not come as a surprise that the leading digital currency known as Bitcoin is attracting plenty of rumors and conspiracies. The new digital currency, which was created in 2009 when someone used 10,000 BTC to indirectly purchase two pizzas delivered by Papa John’s. Today, those 10,000 BTC would be worth over $90 million.
As Bitcoin value soared, one financial analyst wrote:
Governments are currently in the process of vetting the cryptocurrency space and using bitcoin as its primary test case … before crushing private cryptocurrencies altogether, then replacing them with one government-sanctioned “bitcoin.”
Other popular Bitcoin conspiracy theories in 2017: that its mysterious inventor is actually the NSA or Elon Musk, that an advanced artificial intelligence created it to take over the world, and that a few “whales” are hoarding Bitcoin to drive up the value of their own holdings.
But the most likely explanation for high Bitcoin value is that it’s a hype-driven bubble that will level off once the public moves on — a speculative asset craze that’s taken place many other times in history.
5. Obama’s Shadow Government
Is Barack Obama controlling a “deep state” of bureaucrats and intelligence officials running a mini government to take down the Trump administration?
That’s the thinking behind an “Obama shadow government” working to destroy Trump. Conservative pundits and politicians have freely accused the former president and his appointees of leaking embarrassing information, rigging the Russia investigation, and planning nothing less than a coup through the FBI to throw Trump out of office. There is no evidence for any of these claims.
6. Roy Moore
The shocking allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore either had or attempted sexual relations with numerous teenage girls were obvious fodder for conspiracy theories. They arose nearly instantaneously, holding that either the Washington Post was lying or Moore’s accusers were, and that the yearbook signature Moore bestowed on one of the accusers was forged.
Soon, a fake tweet surfaced accusing Post journalists of offering a thousand dollars for accusations. Meanwhile, someone pretending to be a Post reporter (with an anti-Semitic fake name and a strange attempt at a New York accent) cold-called people in Alabama to offer money for damaging information about the candidate. Moore himself fueled the theorizing, speculating that financier (and favorite bugbear of conspiracy theorists everywhere) George Soros was “trying to alter the voting populous” through pushing a “sexual” agenda.
Even after Moore lost the election, he leaned on conspiracy theories to explain the outcome, posting a Facebook message requesting money to investigate “reported cases of voter fraud and irregularities.” Naturally, bottom-of-the-barrel conspiracy-mongering web sites immediately exploited that statement and others like it, publishing sensational (and completely false) “scoops” to bring in as many clicks and views as possible.
7. Fake Melania
President Trump was a magnet for conspiracy theories both in opposition to and in support of his administration. But none summed up the ephemeral nature of internet conspiracies like the one claiming a Melania Trump body double had posed next to the President.
The First Lady’s lack of public appearances and seeming aloofness make her an easy subject for gossip and rumors. Sure enough, in October, a Facebook user posted that something seemed “off” about Melania’s appearance as she stood next to the President during a quick appearance in front of reporters. Others then claimed that her nose, hair, and mouth looked different. Soon, social media was alight with rumors that Melania had been “replaced” by a decoy, either to help her avoid the spotlight, or because she’d split up with the president.
The theory relied on a few out-of-context low-quality images apparently taken by someone filming their television screen, and was quickly written off as cynical fake news. But for a few days it captured the attention of almost every major news outlet in the country, some of which covered it straight and others that pointed out how weird it was.
In that regard, it was a perfect example of most of 2017’s conspiracy theories: baseless, bizarre, and ultimately short-lived.
Which of these conspiracy theories did you catch wind of before reading this article? Do you think any of these theories might have some validity? If so, share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t for get to share this story on Facebook.