A Dutch town has sued Twitter for spreading a conspiracy theory that it was once home to a ring of Satan-worshipping paedophiles.
False reports that Bodegraven-Reeuwijk was the site of child abuse and murder in the 1980s were first spread by three men in 2020.
The main instigator, who grew up in a town near The Hague, claimed as a child he witnessed the crimes. Local authorities want all posts about the alleged events removed.
Hundreds of people have travelled to the town’s Vrederust cemetery to leave flowers and tributes at the graves of seemingly random dead children as a result of the claims.
Jens van den Brink, Twitter’s lawyer, declined to comment ahead of a hearing at The Hague District Court on Friday. The same court ordered the three original men to remove all tweets about the town last year, but the claims persist.
Cees van de Sanden, the town’s lawyer, said Twitter had not responded to a July request that it find and remove all posts related to the claims.
According to RTL Nieuws, Mayor Christiaan van der Kamp, the claims are “very painful and sometimes even threatening for the relatives of the deceased.”
The three men behind the claims are presently working prison sentences for provocation and making death threats against a number of people, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in separate cases.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)