Fact Check: Claims About CEOs Who Don't Use Their Company's Products Are NOT All True

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Claims About CEOs Who Don't Use Their Company's Products Are NOT All True Not All True

Does this meme accurately represent the relationships of several CEOs to the products of their respective companies? This tweet from 2019 contains a mixture of true, false, unverified and misleading statements.

This screenshot meme originated with a tweet posted on November 22, 2019. It resurfaced in a post on Facebook on June 27, 2021, captioned only, "Question everything." The text in the screenshot reads:

Tune Jackson
@Tune Jackson
CEO of Pepsi recorded saying he'd never let his family touch any of the products; Zuckerberg puts ducktape over his camera lens & mic while using Facebook; Steve Jobs banned his kids from using the iPad and the CEO of McDonalds said he doesnt even eat his own company's food...

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jun 28 16:46:59 2021 UTC)

This tweet consists of four separate claims, none of which were backed up by any proof. We will look at them one at a time but will save the Pepsi claim for last.

Zuckerberg puts duct tape over his camera lens & mic while using Facebook.

This could well be the case. In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself on his Facebook timeline. The computer visible in the background does appear to have some type of tape over the camera and microphone port, but it does not look like duct tape. It's possible that Zuckerberg uses this security precaution whenever he uses his computer, and not just when he is using Facebook. This was discussed in a June 22, 2016 nytimes.com article titled, "Mark Zuckerberg Covers His Laptop Camera. You Should Consider It, Too." Security experts agreed that this precaution is reasonable considering the likelihood that hackers would specifically target Facebook's CEO.

Graham Cluley, an online security expert and consultant, wrote in an email Wednesday. "As well as intelligence agencies and conventional online criminals who might be interested in targeting his billions, there are no doubt plenty of mischievous hackers who would find it amusing to spy upon such a high-profile figure."

Steve Jobs banned his kids from using the iPad.

In a September 10, 2014, nytimes.com article titled, "Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent" the writer recalled a 2010 telephone conversation he had with Apple's CEO in the year before his death.

"So, your kids must love the iPad?" I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company's first tablet was just hitting the shelves. "They haven't used it," he told me. "We limit how much technology our kids use at home."

The CEO of McDonald's said he doesn't even eat his own company's food.

This is not true. McDonald's had a change in CEO in 2019 and there are records of both the present and former CEO making statements about eating McDonald's food. Steve Easterbrook was the CEO of McDonald's from 2015 until November 2019, before then he was the president of McDonald's Northern Europe. In an October 23, 2011 article in independent.co.uk titled, "Steve Easterbrook: An appetite for more growth at McDonald's UK," the fourth point listed in a little curriculum vitae for Easterbrook is:

He is married with three children, who go to McDonald's two to three times a month. "They are always surprised when they go and they don't see me there," he says.

The current CEO of McDonald's is Chris Kempczinski. He was interviewed in a November 27, 2020, article in financialpost.com titled, "McDonald's new CEO eats at the chain twice a day (but runs 50 miles a week to burn it off)" The interview for the article took place over lunch at a McDonald's in New Jersey. This article not only confirms that Kempczinski eats at McDonald's, it gives his exact order:

"Chris K," as his staff call him, asks for a Filet-O-Fish, medium fries, a more modestly proportioned Diet Coke and a plain vanilla sundae to be delivered later. It seems a little meagre, but this is not his first McDonald's of the day.

"I eat it every day," he tells me brightly. (Twice a day, in fact, from Monday to Friday.) It sounds like a curse to me, but Kempczinski got used to an on-brand diet as he rose through America's consumer packaged goods sector. At PepsiCo he drank his way through gallons of Aquafina water and Lipton tea. At Kraft, he says, "I wasn't big on Miracle Whip. But I ate a ton of mac and cheese."

The 52-year-old remains trim by running at least 50 miles a week and ordering his fish sandwiches without tartar sauce and his Egg McMuffins with no bacon. A year into this bland-sounding regimen, he says stoically: "You get to know your way around the menu."

The CEO of Pepsi was recorded saying he'd never let his family touch any of the products.

Prior to becoming McDonald's CEO, Chris Kempczinski worked in corporate strategy and marketing at PepsiCo, and he did drink the company's products but he was not the CEO. The current CEO of PepsiCo is Ramon Laguarta. On August 6, 2018, PepsiCo announced that Indra Nooyi would be stepping down and Laguarta would take her place as CEO. Lead Stories was unable to find any statements regarding Ramon Laguarta or his family and their consumption of Pepsi products. In a March 21, 2019, nytimes.com article the former CEO Indra Nooyi was interviewed. In this interview she recalled a town hall event in Egypt and something the wife of a PepsiCo employee said. The quote within the article is Nooyi's telling of the other woman's words, she was not speaking of her own family:

We had town halls and invited the spouses of employees to come. At one in Egypt, a lady stood up and said, "My husband's going to be mad I'm saying this, but I have a kid who's 2, and I read every label, and I'm not willing to give my child all PepsiCo products."

Lead Stories could not find any record to verify this claim that PepsiCo's current or former CEO declared that the products were off limits to their family.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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