The 18 wackiest social media conspiracy theories

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Social media conspiracies, like shoes and socks, bread and butter, salt and pepper, coffee and cream, gin and tonic, hammer and nails, and spaghetti and meatballs, go together so well it’s impossible to try monitor it.

While conspiracy theories are nothing new they have found a new audience thanks to the rise of social media. Over the years such theories as humans bombing mars, Ancient Rome never existing and pandas being fake have cropped up online.

The conspiracy theory will never die. One, they’re too funny. Second, they provide great content for listicles.

So here we are, giving you some of the best social media conspiracy theories. Enjoy.

The Titanic blew up

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OK, so not only did Rose not let a lethally-hypothermic Jack sleep on that big door but also covered up the fact the Titanic blew up? That’s right. “Iceberg ahead!” That was a con. An inside job to protect those at the very top. Survivors like Able Seaman Frank Osman, who said that he heard and saw an explosion as the ship sank thought it was caused by cold seawater cracking the hot boilers. He remembers the smoke coming up through the funnels along with pieces of coal, giving him the idea that the boilers had exploded.

Robert Ballard, however, who discovered the ruins lying in two sections on the seabed, found the boilers more or less intact. The noise of an explosion which Osman and others heard was actually the noise of Titanic breaking up and everything on her crashing through the ship, as she tipped up before the plunge.

Skittles are brainwashing people

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Hard on the outside, chewy on the inside and full of flavour. It’s hard to think why anyone wouldn’t like Skittles. However, some claim that this classic sweet is actually a secret brainwashing tool designed to alter consumers’ very being. A lawsuit filed in June 2022 in northern California federal court alleged that Skittles contain a “known toxin” called titanium dioxide, rendering them “unfit for human consumption”.

Jenile Thames, a resident of San Leandro, filed suit against Mars Inc, the confection company that produces Skittles, seeking class-action status and alleging that people who eat Skittles “are at heightened risk of a host of health effects for which they were unaware stemming from genotoxicity - the ability of a chemical substance to change DNA”. According to the European Food Safety Authority, titanium dioxide is “a pigment commonly used to provide a cloudy effect and white background colour”, and is typically used in production of sweets and baking. In 2021, the authority announced that “titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive”.

The Internet is dead

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The “Dead Internet Theory” states that the Internet as we know it actually died sometime between 2016 and 2017. This doesn’t mean that the Internet is gone necessarily. More that the people we see online posting content, social media updates, and commenting are actually bots.

One of the more popular posts explaining the theory comes from the online forum Agora Road’s Macintosh Cafe. In January 2021, a user named IlluminatiPirate created a thread titled, “Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake” in which he delves into how much of the Internet is now created and managed by AI, and is filled with bots.

“I’ve seen the same threads, the same pics, and the same replies reposted over and over across the years to the point of me seeing it as unremarkable,” IlluminatiPirate said. “I think it’s entirely obvious what I’m subtly suggesting here given this setup. The U.S. government is engaging in an artificial-intelligence-powered gaslighting of the entire world population.”

Though algorithms and AI do stray us further and further from reality, the continued, humdrum existence of shitposters quashes this theory. For now…

The world ends in 2025

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Thought the world ended in December 2012 and everyone since then has been a mirage or hallucination of some kind? You thought wrong. Who are you, John Cusack? Get with it. A new apocalypse date just dropped.

The Kali Yuga, in Hinduism, is the fourth and worst of the four yugas (or world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by Dvapara Yuga and followed by the next cycle’s Krita (Satya) Yuga. It is believed to be the present age, which is full of conflict and sin. There’s certainly a lot of conflict. Sin? Bit archaic for my liking. But sure, if you’re religious, and sin is a big deal-breaker for you, then I imagine there is plenty of sins being committed.

And when the Kali Yuga ends in 2025, so does the world. How do I know this? Because people on TikTok are saying so!

In actual fact, the Kali Yuga does not signal the end of the world but rather when the evil and decadence of the Kali Yuga reaches its zenith and Vishnu will have an incarnation (avatara) as Kalki the horse rider, to kill all the evil people and restore Dharma on earth, commencing a new Satya Yuga.

Back to the Future predicted 9/11

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Sorry to make your favourite film all nerdy and political but… needs must.

Some theorists claim Back to the Future actually predicted the September 11 attacks in multiple scenes. At one point in the first movie, the clock reads 9:55 p.m., a clear indication for some that the film predicted 9/11 given that the clock hands point to 9 and 11.

In another scene, in which Marty McFly is ambushed in the Twin Pines mall parking lot, fans points out that the shooting takes place in a location with the word “Twin” in its name. This of course links to the target Al-Qaida chose for their terrorist attack.

And, on top of that, if you turn the clock of the Twin Pines mall sign around, 1:16 a.m. becomes “911.”

NASA was founded to explore the ocean

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A claim was made in a TikTok video that changes the way we view NASA. Sort of…

@memes_to_click posted a clip of black and white video footage of a submarine with the narration: “NASA’s original mission was searching the oceans. They will not tell us what they found, but their plans abruptly switched to getting us off this planet.”

So what are the facts? NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was opened in 1958, built on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which was set up to conduct research in the field of aeronautics - science related to aircraft operations to you and me - and other government organisations.

NASA was established in the midst of the Cold War in response to early Soviet space achievements, such as the launch Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 - the Earth’s first artificial satellite. Though fun to imagine NASA originally explored the ocean then got scared by a fish into going to the Moon instead, this is unfortunately untrue.

Justin Bieber confirming Pizzagate

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When Justin Bieber dropped “Yummy” back in 2020, most people were decidedly nonplussed. Compared to his output a few years prior, it was dull and meandering, if not completely cringe.

But then some viewers looked a little deeper into it. Why does this song seem to be so lazy and dour in contrast with the spectacle of its music video, which shows the “Baby” singer dancing his way around a giant banquet attended by old people and children? Simple: Bieber is a Pizzagate truther, and this is a not-so-subtle way of him telling us.

Pizzagate is a conspiracy dating back to early November 2016, when Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s email was hacked and the messages were published by Wikileaks. One of the emails was between Podesta and James Alefantis, the owner of D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong. The message discussed Alefantis hosting a possible fundraiser for Clinton.

Users of the website 4Chan began speculating about the links between Comet Ping Pong and the Democratic Party, with a vile conclusion that the pizzeria was the headquarters of a child trafficking ring led by Clinton and Podesta. Of course, this was all completely unfounded and symptomatic of America’s misinformation problem.

QAnon

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Naturally, this leads us to QAnon, the American political conspiracy theory and political movement which sprang from Pizzagate. It originated in the American far-right political sphere in 2017. QAnon centres on false claims made by an anonymous individual or individuals known as “Q”. Those claims have been relayed and extended by several communities and influencers associated with the movement.

The main QAnon theory is that a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children operating a global child sex trafficking ring conspired against former President Donald Trump during his stint in office.

Ancient Rome Never Existed

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Ancient Rome, pioneers of calendars, aqueducts and blood sports, is a highlight for any young history student. So vast, so storied, so chaotic. And apparently, so fabricated. TikToker @momllenial_, who has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history, claimed that Ancient Rome never actually happened in one of her many videos on the topic.

In the TikTok posted last November she said that Ancient Rome didn’t exist and was “a figment of the Spanish inquisition’s imagination.” She also falsely claimed there isn’t a single extant “Roman document” or “primary document,” despite the reported existence of Roman documents and tablets with Latin written on them. Keep up, @momllenial_ !

Her clip garnered over 100,000 views, with the comment section naturally flooded with viewers calling her a “troll” and listing names of different primary documents to dispute her claims. As well as some Romans asking, “How can a you say this?”

She posted a follow-up video a week later titled “Three Minute Video: Rome Thesis,” in which she said her claim that Rome wasn’t real was a metaphor, but that “there are massive gaps in the archeological record” and argued Greece was the “power player” of the time period between 4th and 2nd century BC, not Rome.

Finland Doesn’t Exist

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Bit of a heads up here, a lot of modern internet-rooted conspiracy theories are flat-out denials of things existing. A few are on this list. We’ve given you one already. Here’s another: Finland. You may have heard this one already. It became a bit of a meme after its origins on Reddit in 2015 when user “Raregans” suggested Finland was not a chilly northern European country minding its own business but a fabrication made up by the Japanese and Soviet Union during the Cold War to secure fishing rights in the Baltic Sea.

Raregans suggested the people who populate the country known as Finland actually belong to the nations of Sweden, Estonia, and Russia. This isn’t as easy to disprove as apples not being real. If somebody said that, I could take you to a supermarket and show you a basket of apples. I could also take you to Finland but who’s to say they won’t drop us in Sweden? Or Estonia? Russia? You could check Google Maps but are you gonna trust an application that blurs out Area 51?

Ice Bucket Challenge was a Satanic Ritual

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The Ice Bucket Challenge had its critics when it came around in 2014. They were very tame. Accusations of vanity and such. Worrying whether nominees were actually donating money. Then there were some other critics, who weren’t tame. One WorldNetDaily writer in particular couldn’t fathom why anyone would willingly dump ice water on themselves, so she dug around, concluding that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a satanic ritual.

“I began to think about the IBC,” Selena Owens explained in the piece. “Whose idea was this? Why would people so easily agree to being drenched in icy water? Who participated and who didn’t? Why do people feel obligated to take the challenge if offered to them? What’s the purpose of calling out three other people to take the challenge?” Her evidence was the death of IBC co-founder Corey Griffin who tragically jumped off a building and drowned following a successful fundraiser where he had raised $100,000 for ALS research. “He floated to the surface, then he sank,” a report said. “He did not come up again.” For Owens, this was too sketchy. “It confounds me as to why Griffin would take such a risk with his life, especially in the dead of night?” she wrote. “Very odd. Very bizarre. Very dark.”

Disney’s Frozen Is a Cover-Up

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Nearly everyone on earth has heard the rumour that Walt Disney arranged to have his body preserved for the future and has spent the last sixty odd years stored in a deep-freeze chamber somewhere under Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, awaiting the day science can repair the damage to his body and reanimate Uncle Walt. Well, have you heard the rumour that Disney (the company, now) created the movie Frozen to alter Google’s search algorithm so that searches for anything close to “Disney Frozen” returned information about the kid’s classic and not Uncle Walt being cryogenically chilled?

Disney has tinkered with Walt’s image in the past. Cigarettes used to be cropped out of his hands in pictures to keep up with the empire’s family-friendly appeal, so while this sounds like a long and expensive way to distract from an urban legend, you can’t rule it out. It’s very savvy. In fact, it’s brilliant.

Bill Gates Is Making Snow

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Bill Gates has had a hard time of it recently. He spent the last decade warning us of an impending pandemic only for one to come about and make him out to be some opportunistic mastermind hellbent on controlling people’s bodies. Over on Twitter, Elon Musk is comparing photos of him to the pregnant woman emoji. On top of that, the man who helped revolutionise the office is now accused of making snow. Videos on TikTok show users holding lighters to snowballs. The snowballs don’t appear to melt, but instead, they burn. “No water, no dripping, no nothing,” says one woman, who believes there’s metal inside the snow, and that Microsoft’s co-founder is somehow to blame.

Is Bill really seeding phony snow? No, of course not. You idiot. The open flame is causing the frozen mass of snow to sublimate straight into water vapor, not liquid water. Sublimation is when a solid skips the liquid phase and goes directly to gas. Can we just leave this poor billionaire alone for a second please?

Pandas Aren’t Real

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Another one from the “things aren’t real” crowd. This time: Pandas. These cuddly, furry, clumsy fellas are the great social leveller. Unless you’re a stick of bamboo, chances are you love them. The black and white bear has become a symbol of environmental protection, as well as the national symbol of China, the only country where the species still lives in the wild. Or do they… Some theorists are claiming they never existed in the first place, and are actually just men dressed up in suits or bears painted black and white. This conspiracy theory is particularly popular on TikTok, where the hashtag #pandasnotreal counts over 7 million views.

Platform users who subscribe to this conspiracy theory draw on several surprising facts about giant pandas. The first concerns their diet. Traditionally a carnivorous species, they have become exclusively herbivorous following a genetic mutation, with a diet almost entirely made up of bamboo, which they nibble with their opposable “pseudo thumbs” and their powerful jaws. Another flaw singled out by doubters is the challenge pandas face when it comes to reproducing. Couples can only reproduce a few days a year, between February 15 and March 30, a period during which the female panda is fertile for only 48 hours. “Pandas are so bad at life that they can’t even mate without intervention. A basic animal instinct is inherently knowing how to get it on, and they can’t even do that,” says @that_pearl_witch.

We Nuked Mars

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You’d think Mars would be safe given that we haven’t stepped foot on it. You’d think we’d leave it alone. Harmless old Mars, sitting up there faraway. No. Mars? Yeah, “Mars” was colonised by humans and then nuked to the high heavens and that’s why it’s all red. Apparently. Posted by user crackheadjoedirt, the theory has been shared more than 230,000 times already. It comes in response to a different user’s question: “What’s a conspiracy theory that absolutely blows your mind?”

Crackheadjoedirt explained in his theory that Mars isn’t naturally red. He thinks that humans waging nuclear warfare on the planet were responsible for its current condition. “If enough nukes were to go off on a planet, the first thing that would happen is a nuclear winter. A nuclear winter is an aftermath of nuclear blasts causing ash that is so thick that it blocks out the sunlight,” he said. “After all the natural resources are drained up from the nuclear winter, the planet turns red from dust. My theory is that we’ve come from Mars after we drained all of its natural resources and destroyed it with nuclear bombs.”

Abstinence from Booze On July 4th

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Abstain from alcohol on Independence Day or else risk reaching a new dimension! That was the word on the street earlier this month, believe it or not. New Agers believe abstaining from drinking and other “low vibration” activities before the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland was revved up on Tuesday for fear they’ll get stuck in a past universe.

“There is a growing New Age movement that believes that if you had an alcoholic beverage on July 4th, there is a good chance you may be stuck in this dimension when we all jump to the new world,” writer Will Sommer said on the Fever Dreams podcast. Right now, there could be people left behind. Trapped at a barbecue. Endless fireworks. “Somebody stop the fireworks!” they shout. But it’s useless. They got smashed on July 4th. They dug their grave.

Avril Lavigne Was Replaced

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He was a boy, she was a girl, then she got replaced. Can I make it any more obvious? This theory posits that Canadian singer Avril Lavigne died in 2003, shortly after the release of her debut studio album, Let Go, and was replaced by a body double named Melissa Vandella. Evidence used to support the theory include changes in Lavigne’s appearance between 2003 and the present, alleged subliminal messaging in her follow-up effort, Under My Skin, and a photoshoot in which Lavigne has the name “Melissa” written on her hand.

The origins of the theory can be traced back to the 2011 Brazilian blog “Avril Está Morta” (“Avril is Dead”), which led to conversations all over the internet sharing apparent evidence of Lavigne’s replacement. The theory gained more traction in May 2017, when a Twitter user posted a thread recounting the theory. Lavigne herself (if she really is herself!) has denied the theory on seevral occasions.

Harry Styles Is Bald

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Here it is, the best for last. Harry Styles, radio pop’s golden boy, the only alum of One Direction who isn’t destined to guest-host This Morning, is BALD! Those locks you long to stroke? A wig. A mirage. The rumour of an A-lister out there hiding their slap-head first appeared thanks to the Instagram account and celebrity gossip curator DeuxMoi in May. Since then, the mill has spun no end, with speculation as to who it could be reaching its peak this month.

On TikTok, the consensus points to Harry Styles, with videos of supposed “evidence” of a secret hairpiece being worn on his current world tour racking up hundreds of thousands of views. You know it’s not the same as it was? Not a love song. It’s an ode to his hair, now vanished like his old bandmates.