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Wayfair CEO has not stepped down

July 13, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Niraj Shah, chief executive officer of the furniture company Wayfair, has resigned amid child sex trafficking allegations against the company.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Shah has not stepped down, according to a Wayfair spokesperson, and claims the company is involved in child trafficking are part of an unfounded conspiracy theory.

THE FACTS: On Monday, false posts circulating on social media alleged that Shah, the CEO and co-founder of the online furniture retailer Wayfair, had left the company.

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“Breaking News: Wayfair’s CEO just stepped down amid child trafficking allegations,” wrote one Facebook user, in a post that racked up more than 250,000 views in two days.

“WAYFAIR CEO STEPS DOWN If you haven’t heard about Wayfair go to Twitter NOW,” read another post, by a Facebook page claiming to be a community for yoga hobbyists. 

Wayfair set the record straight in an email to The Associated Press: Shah has not stepped down.

The false claim comes as conspiracy theories have swirled around Wayfair in recent days, with social media users claiming without evidence that the company’s high prices for cabinets and other products indicate it is embroiled in child sex trafficking. 

A company spokesperson flatly denied these allegations. But that hasn’t stopped various online conspiracy theorists and QAnon-linked social media accounts from spreading rumors about its dealings and employees.

Other bogus claims spreading online include a parody Wayfair advertisement that’s been mistaken as real, and a photo of longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell with a luxury watch businessman who’s been falsely identified as a Wayfair employee. 

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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