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Video does not show a girl being promoted for child trafficking by Wayfair

July 16, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video of a six-year-old girl being instructed to show her hands and profile before jumping on a couch where she plays with a doll and talks about prices on Wayfair is evidence the online retailer is involved in human trafficking.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video is an audition tape for Wayfair uploaded by the girl’s mother, London-based Alphabet Agency confirmed to The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: Social media users are circulating the audition video, which captures the London girl dressed in a green shirt and overalls from various angles, as evidence to support a conspiracy theory that Wayfair is trafficking young children through its website.

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In the video, the girl says she is 6 years old and with Alphabet Kids. A woman shooting the video then has the girl show her hands and side profile before the girl jumps on the couch to play with a doll. The video ends with the woman saying the low price of the couch she is sitting on can’t possibly be correct, and the girl responds by saying: “With Wayfair it is!”

Alphabet Kids is a reference to Alphabet Agency, a talent agency registered for business in London. The video was recorded as an audition for a Wayfair commercial, and was taken from a YouTube channel created by the young girl’s mother, Carleen McCarthy, a senior agent for Alphabet Management, told The Associated Press in an email.

Copies of the video were uploaded in posts even after the video was made private by the mother, McCarthy said.

A 2019 Wayfair commercial features vignettes of families and friends gathering around a couch, including children playing on a couch or in a living room, in a manner similar to the audition tape.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536