Misinformation on TikTok leads to heated backlash against SLC trucking company
Oct 30, 2020, 6:00 PM | Updated: Nov 4, 2020, 6:57 pm
(A portion of the ShipEX fleet. Credit: Vadim Komarov, ShipEX)
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah-based trucking company is facing backlash over something they say they have nothing to do with. Company officials said they got dragged into a political fight because of videos posted to TikTok causing people to jump to the wrong conclusions.
The dispute centers around Headline Farm in central New York state. The farm is up for auction because the owners have fallen on hard times. Their daughter, Nicole Head, opened a GoFundMe account for people to donate and help her save their family farm.
“Headline Farm has been in our family for 125 years,” Head wrote. “Due to personal issues that have come up, my father is being forced to put our farmland up for auction. It breaks my heart to see all of my father and grandfathers hard work and dedication having to be taken away from them. This is more than just a farm. This is our home. We are surrounded by this land everywhere we look.”
Head also posted videos to TikTok to raise awareness about the campaign, using the hashtag #savethefarm.
“If we can get 250 thousand people to donate one dollar, we can do this.”
However, another TikTok creator from Georgia, using the screen name @zyereri, took issue with Head’s politics.
In one video, she said, “If you know anything about Republicans, you know they hate receiving things for free.”
Zyereri, started her own GoFundMe account under the hashtag #takethefarm to raise money and buy the farm to punish the Heads for being Republican.
“So, I, being the thoughtful and petty person that I am, would love to help her keep her Republican values intact by buying the farm when it goes up for auction,” she said in one video.
How does this political fight involve ShipEX in Salt Lake City? Company officials say it shouldn’t — but it does.
Zyereri is a truck driver and in one of her videos she can be seen walking past a ShipEX rig while she was at a truck stop.
Marketing Manager Vadim Komarov said, “You can barely, for half a second, see the logo of the truck.”
He said this is likely the reason so many people believe Zyereri works for ShipEX. Komarov said they only learned about this after someone messaged them saying they would never work for a company that allows an employee to steal someone else’s farm.
“My kind of joking response was, ‘Does that mean they want to come work for us? We would never do something like that,’” Komarov said.
Since then, the company has been flooded with angry calls and emails, demanding they take action against Zyereri. However, Komarov said she isn’t one of their drivers, and they have nothing to do with the battle over the farm.
“Our team immediately jumped on it and went through our HR records to see if we could find this person. Nothing came up. We had no idea who she was,” Komarov said. “We have zero association of any kind with this person outside of her walking past a truck.”
Company officials say it has become a full-time job trying to convince people that Zyereri doesn’t work for them. Komarov said even after they explain their disassociation with the , a lot of people don’t believe them and are convinced they’re covering for her.
The company released a statement to their social media platforms, saying:
Hello, I work for ShipEX and we have received several messages regarding this individual. I have confirmed with our management that Zyereri does not work for ShipEX. When we were unable to find any record of her, our team started investigating externally and discovered a video on social media where she walks passed one of our trucks. That is the extent of her association with our company – accidentally capturing one of our trucks in her video.
We do not condone any hate speech or hateful acts of any kind. We are a family-oriented company and have employees from different backgrounds, different views, etc. No matter the differences, we treat each other like family and show respect to everyone, regardless of their views or background.
This is a rather unfortunate mix up. We would really appreciate it if you could update your post to reflect this and stop this from spreading.