Conspiracy theorists are already making wild claims about the Amtrak train full of Republican lawmakers that collided with a truck in Virginia
- Conspiracy theories were spread after an Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers collided with a truck.
- The cause of the crash has yet to be determined and the scene is still under investigation.
- Various social media accounts propagated the conspiracy theories Wednesday night, some of which linked them to a secret GOP memo on the Russia investigation that is expected to be released.
Following a Wednesday morning train crash that killed one person and severely injured another in the Washington D.C. area, conspiracy theorists attempted to commandeer the story on social media.
The Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers and their family members to an annual retreat struck a garbage truck on its way from Washington D.C. to West Virginia. The incident spurred multiple conspiracy theories in light of heightened partisan bickering over the Russia probe and accusations of law-enforcement bias against President Donald Trump.
Some of the conspiracy theories claimed the train incident was perpetrated by so-called "deep-state" actors — a term used by fringe right-wing groups to describe rogue government employees who secretly attempt to manipulate US policy.
"If you think that that truck just stalled there by itself, and somebody didn't kill that guy and park it up there on the tracks, that's how they like to do it," InfoWars host Alex Jones said on Wednesday. "It's a classic CIA tactic too."
"You'll kill somebody, have them in the car, and remote control it into the next vehicle. That is the standard assassination tool right now," Jones continued. "This is standard dump truck ... that is CIA playbook 100%."
Jones' website suggested someone hacked the traffic controls in the area, prompting the collision.
Others began analyzing images of a damaged train to support a theory that a truck intentionally rammed the train to derail it.
The timing of the crash also raised eyebrows amongst purveyors of the "deep-state" conspiracy, amid the looming release of a polarizing House Intelligence Committee memo that claims anti-Trump bias at the FBI.
Conspiracy theorists also drew connections between tweets allegedly posted by political personalities. A screenshot purporting to show an ill-timed tweet from the conservative political analyst Bill Kristol attracted suspicion as well.
"Once we're sure everyone involved is ok, assuming they are, I hereby give permission to Twitter to indulge in all manner of GOP train wreck jokes. I do think that by having the train hit...yes, a garbage truck...the scriptwriters of '2018' jumped the shark," the purported tweet read.
The alleged Kristol tweet, as illustrated by the screenshot, had an 11:07 a.m. time stamp, meaning it would have been sent 13 minutes before the train crash occurred.
Meanwhile, the cause of the crash is still under investigation, Reuters reported.
A search of "GOP train crash" on Twitter yielded results from users who have made unverified claims about the incident. Top tweets with the most engagements included posts from users who amplified the conspiracy theories.
"Isn't it odd that a dump truck was on the tracks of a scheduled GOP retreat? Are we supposed to believe this was an 'accident' ?," one tweet with over 870 retweets and 1,700 likes said. "Don't forget when republicans were targeted by a crazy liberal when they had a baseball game!"
"Wray should be worrying about a truck that just happened to crash into a GOP train," another user tweeted. "Not covering the asses of corrupt FBI agents. Wake up!"
The conspiracy claims also spread to Facebook, as posts made by users not affiliated with news organizations began adding their own comments to otherwise-reputable news articles, which then began appearing at the top Facebook's curated news sections.
Facebook responded to the incidents. calling them a "bad experience" and saying it would "work to fix the product."
"Trending includes a separate section of people's individual posts related to the news event; it's essentially a comments section," a Facebook spokesperson said in a Daily Beast report. "We built this as a way for you to easily see what others are saying around a topic."
- Billionaire casino mogul and RNC finance chair Steve Wynn accused of sexual assault
- Theresa May says social media sites have become a home for 'terrorists and paedophiles'
- Theresa May accuses Facebook of helping terrorists, child abusers, and slave traders