The reach of social media was driven home for a Michoacán farmer on the weekend when he sold a tonne of strawberries in less than an hour.
But the power of the message was enhanced significantly by the incorrect claim that the farmer had the surplus fruit due to new United States trade policies.
The information posted on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter announced that Abelardo Martínez Valencia was selling the berries for 20 pesos a package, a discount of 80 pesos on the supermarket price, because the U.S. had refused to allow the strawberries across the border.
“We are helping a man whose strawberries for export were not accepted by the United States (the Trump effect),” read the post.
The so-called Trump effect ensured that the posts went viral. The virality paid off for Martínez but the surplus strawberries had nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats against Mexico trade.
It was simply due to an oversupply in the U.S. and Martínez had been unable to export his product.
The posts got some attention from the state’s Rural Development Secretariat, which issued a statement to assure there was nothing stopping the export of Michoacán farm products into the U.S.
Martínez expressed surprise over the power of social media to reach people but was happy with the response. “I prefer to offer my products at a lower cost rather than see them go to waste.”
Due to the high demand he was considering offering more discount strawberries this week.