A Dutch town has taken Twitter to court over the spread of a conspiracy theory claiming it was once home to a ring of Satan-worshipping paedophiles.
False reports that Bodegraven-Reeuwijk was the site of the abuse and murder of multiple children in the 1980s were first circulated by three men in 2020.
The main instigator, who grew up in the town near The Hague, said he had witnessed the crimes as a child.
The claims have prompted dozens of people to travel to the town’s Vrederust cemetery to leave flowers and tributes at the graves of seemingly random dead children.
Twitter’s lawyer, Jens van den Brink, declined to comment ahead of a hearing at The Hague District Court on Friday.
Last year, the same court ordered the three original men to remove all tweets about the town, but the claims continue to circulate.
The town’s lawyer, Cees van de Sanden, said Twitter had not responded to a request in July that it find and remove all posts related to the claims.
Mayor Christiaan van der Kamp said that claims were “very painful and sometimes even threatening for the relatives of the deceased”, RTL Nieuws reported.
The three men behind the claims are currently serving jail sentences following convictions in separate cases for incitement and making death threats against a number of people, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
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