Q: Did a video of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin assaulting a young girl surface online?
A: No. A story making that claim suggests the New York City Police Department is investigating Clinton and Abedin. That’s false.
There is no evidence of a video showing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her longtime aide Huma Abedin sexually assaulting and terrorizing a young girl — despite a fictional tale being widely spread across social media.
An April 16 story on thepedogate.com, which is dedicated to such conspiracy theories, said the New York City Police Department dubbed the video the “‘Rosetta Stone’ of information connecting senior politicians, such as Clinton, to an elite pedophile ring” — echoing the debunked “Pizzagate” theory from 2016 that alleged Clinton and her aides were running a child sex ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizza shop.
But the NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information confirmed in an email to FactCheck.org that the department is not investigating such a video. There are also no credible news “reports” about the video, as was claimed in a similar story on yournewswire.com.
Yournewswire.com — a website known to traffic false news — claimed that the video of Clinton and Abedin had surfaced on the “dark web,” a collection of web properties that hide their IP addresses for anonymity and where some illegal activity is known to occur.
That story said the video was found on the laptop of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband. He was convicted last year of “sexting” with an underage girl.
While some Facebook users rightly flagged the stories as false, the claims continued to amass a substantial audience in recent days — including more than 500,000 views on related YouTube videos that spread the rumor. None of these videos contains images of the alleged sex crime — just descriptions based on unnamed sources who purportedly viewed it.
One YouTube video, which received nearly 190,000 views, attributes the existence of the “‘Horrific’ Hillary Clinton snuff film” only to “reliable sources who have viewed the material and confirmed the content is worse than any nightmare.”
A link to the yournewswire.com story posted on the popular Facebook group “Donald Trump Commander in Chief 2020” garnered more than 1,500 shares. Some people who commented on the story questioned its veracity, but many others called for Clinton to be investigated and jailed.
“I read enough today to make me sick to my stomach! Monsters around us! But, not for long!!!” one woman wrote.
The implications of such theories were evident in December 2016, when an armed, 28-year-old man from North Carolina who believed the “Pizzagate” accounts opened fire inside the Washington, D.C., pizza shop named in the bogus stories. No injuries were reported. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.
“Arrest Made in an Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun): 5000 Block of Connecticut Avenue, Northwest.” Press release. Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. 5 Dec 2016.
“Breaking: Clinton-Abedin PedoGate Video Found On Dark Web.” Thepedogate.com. 16 Apr 2018.
Greenberg, Andy. “Hacker Lexicon: What is the Dark Web?” Wired. 19 Nov 2014.
“‘Horrific’ Hillary Clinton Snuff Film Circulating On Dark Web.” Yournewswire.com. 15 Apr 2018.
“North Carolina Man Sentenced to Four-Year Prison Term For Armed Assault at Northwest Washington Pizza Restaurant.” Press release. U.S. Department of Justice. 22 Jun 2017.
“Man opens fire in restaurant targeted by anti-Clinton ‘PizzaGate’ fake news conspiracy.” CBS News. 4 Dec 2016.
Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information, New York City Police Department. Email sent to FactCheck.org. 20 Apr 2018.
Robb, Amanda. “Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal.” Rolling Stone. 16 Nov 2017.
Welch, Edgar Maddison. Guilty plea. United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 24 Mar 2017.