At one time, whenever a disaster happened, both sides rushed to published newspapers or magazines to get their stories into the public. Then came TV and newscasts which lead to news documentary shows and TV news programs that investigated the stories. With the internet came social media and everyone could have a swap including those from a far. There are really good reasons why social media is wonderful and lots of reasons why you need to be careful with what you read
In an article by David Klepper of the Associated Press, there was a 36-car derailment near East Palestine, Ohio. The train was carrying toxic chemicals and they were released into the air and water which lead to concerns because similar to most toxic chemicals, the results do not show up overnight. The chemicals which go into the water will eventually cause problems but most of them take time – the easiest to see will be problems in pregnant women. The women will miscarry and have a host of other problems because of the chemical affecting the newborn and giving life process.
The disaster means social media will be abuzz with news and because governments and the train corporation reacted slower than expected others will step in to air their views. Some will be accurate, be of concern and some of the news will be junk. In this case, anonymous pro-Russian accounts started spreading misleading claims and anti-American propaganda about the the derailment on Twitter.
The pro-Russian tweets suggested Biden was helping Ukraine but not its own citizens.
Organizations such as Reset, a London based non-profit that studies social media’s impact on democracy and Zignal Labs which conducted a study for the Associated Press came to the same conclusion. Millions of mentions were done on Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, because the derailment moved into the political circles, the disinformation came from both pro-Russian accounts and those will American pro conservative accounts. One example is Truth Puke which is connected to conservatives in the US. Truth Puke regularly reposts Russia state media Russia Today or RT.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, when a disaster happens, the company is going to say we need time to evaluate the information and equally important to get out the facts. The issue will be other voices will fill in the space while the company offers its solutions. It is vital the company has considered what happens in a disaster, what should be done and can the company control as possible, otherwise the company will lose its narrative. For the companies you invest in, are they reasonably prepared for a disaster?
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.