Amid a resurgent focus on the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that prompted a discussion on “fake news” in the election cycle, “60 Minutes” reported Sunday on how such stories are spread.

In December, a man opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor after reading that it was the site of a child sex-trafficking ring connected to Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats. On Friday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones apologized to the owner.

Comet Ping Pong’s James Alefantis told “60 Minutes” that the drama started late last year, with threatening messages on social media.

“People saying that they wanted to see my guts cut out and spill on the floor of my restaurant. One person said that they prayed that someone would come and kill everyone inside. And it was terrifying moments,” he told Scott Pelley.

{mosads}“It went from a few people buzzing about something online or inside of chat rooms that we never would have seen before to suddenly being blasted to millions and millions of people.”

The police say there is no evidence to back up the claim that Alefantis’s restaurant is a hotbed for criminal activity, but that didn’t stop the message from spreading.

Michael Cernovich, a Southern California lawyer who runs a fake news website that wrote about Comet Ping Pong, insists his stories are “definitely not fake.”

“They’re not lies at all. 100 percent true,” he said, adding, “I don’t say anything that I don’t believe.”

Pelley and his crew explored the bots — what they describe as “Twitter accounts masquerading as real people” — that help spread such stories.

The show bought 5,000 bots from a Russian website and was able to boost a message in seconds, going from 300 retweets to more than 3,000.

That’s concerning, “60 Minutes” said, because sites like Facebook and Twitter use algorithms that promote content based on how popular it is.

But the key, social media consultant Jim Vidmar said, is using “their language about very specific words that kind of get that emotional response.”

That’s “the key to all of the fake news,” he said.

Jeff Green, CEO of Trade Desk, an online ad firm that helps companies avoid fake news, said it’s a “phenomenon that affects both sides” of the political aisle.

He said although people think fake news tricks uneducated Americans, “the data shows it’s just not true.”

For example, he said, right-leaning fake news sites overwhelmingly bring in readers in their 40s and 50s, while left-leaning fake news readers are more likely to be affluent and college-educated.

Ultimately, he said his big concern is “the amount of influence” such sites “seem to have because the people that spend time in those echo chambers are the ones that vote.”

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