One Dumb Conspiracy is a weekly column that debunks the most wild conspiracy theories swirling around the web and runs on Mondays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
Let us crawl the web for you. Subscribe to web_crawlr here.
Conspiracy theories have exploded online after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was swatted at her Georgia home twice last week.
On Wednesday, police descended onto the congresswoman’s residence after receiving a report that a man in her bathtub had been shot five times in the chest. The caller, who reportedly used a text-to-speech voice, cited the far-right forum Kiwi Farms and claimed to be upset by Greene’s stance on transgender youth. Just days prior, Greene introduced legislation to make gender-affirming care a felony charge.
On Thursday morning, another claim regarding violence at Greene’s home was reported over internet chat to a suicide hotline. This time, the user claimed to be transgender themselves and alleged that they had shot their family and would turn the gun on themselves and police.
Left-wing users on Twitter responded to both incidents by claiming that Greene had fabricated the entire scenario, despite police reports and a 911 call later being released to the media. Others on the left alleged that Greene had made the calls herself as part of a “false flag” to gain sympathy.
“Immediately I don’t think she was ‘swatted,’” one user wrote. “Most likely, the police came to her house on a complaint call, and she’s trying to get ahead of the news.”
Over on Truth Social, right-wing users alleged that the swatting was actually a raid carried out by the Department of Justice on behalf of President Joe Biden.
Greene herself seemingly cited the first caller’s motives as fact, suggesting that a left-wing opponent of her legislation banning gender-affirming care had made the call to emergency services.
In reality, no one knows the motives of the callers.
The references by the swatters to Kiwi Farms and transgender rights could indicate, however, that the attacks stemmed from an ongoing feud between a transgender Twitch streamer and the forum.
The feud has seen the Twitch streamer repeatedly doxed and swatted. In turn, supporters of the streamer have called for Kiwi Farms to be taken offline. Yet the swatting attacks could be interpreted to both be an attempt to bring down Kiwi Farms and to cast a negative light on the transgender community.
The fact of the matter is, no evidence so far strongly supports any theory. Greene was swatted. The DOJ was not involved. There’s no evidence Greene was involved. It’s possible that the swatters may be opposed to both sides of the feud and are merely attempting to stir up further division.
Either way, we won’t know the true motive until a thorough investigation is completed. For now, users should focus on what we know for certain and not let their views on any of those involved warp their interpretation of the events thus far.
Why it matters
The swatting attacks against Greene show how easily one’s own political bias can influence their views on major political events. Until a thorough investigation can be completed, there is no way to know who is responsible for the attacks and what their motivations truly were.
Like what you are reading? Sign up to receive web_crawlr, a daily newsletter from the Daily Dot, in your inbox each morning.
*First Published: Aug 30, 2022, 6:00 am CDT
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.