Fact Check

Does Pic Show the Private Jets of Bank CEOs Seeking Deals With Warren Buffett?

"How bad is the banking crisis?" a tweet read. "This is the Omaha airport this morning."

Published Mar 20, 2023

Updated Mar 20, 2023
 (Twitter/Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)
Image Via Twitter/Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
A March 19, 2023, tweet displayed a photograph of "private jets" owned by bank CEOs who had flown to Omaha, Nebraska, "to get bought out by Warren Buffett."

The photograph was taken in January 2016 for Reuters, which said it depicted passenger jets at the Swiss Airforce base during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

On March 19, 2023, a tweet circulated with a photograph supposedly depicting a tarmac in Omaha, Nebraska, where a number of bank CEOs had purportedly parked their private jets for meetings with the city's wealthiest resident: billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

"How bad is the banking crisis? the tweet by @Cokedupoptions read. "Each one is the private jet of a bank CEO looking to get bought out by Warren Buffett."

The tweet was not intended to be taken seriously; it was authored by a parody account (we should note Buffet is, however, in talks with the White House about possible investment in regional banks).

The tweet by @Cokedupoptions — which has a "PARODY" disclaimer in its bio — was the first in a series of similarly formatted posts poking fun at the banking industry in the aftermath of Silicon Valley and Signature banks collapsing. The creator of the Twitter account once described itself as a "meme account," and a place where the owner can "joke around without having to use [a] real name."

The photograph of the aircrafts was real and showed the tarmac used for the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2016. It was taken by freelance photographer Arnd Wiegmann for Reuters with the caption:

Passenger jets are parked at the Swiss Airforce base in Duebendorf, Switzerland January 21, 2016. The airport Duebendorf in Duebendorf is used for arrivals and departures of participants of the the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Over the years, the photograph has been published by several news outlets for stories about world leaders flying private jets to the annual meeting, including The Guardian in 2019 and Business Insider in 2020.

Additionally, the picture has been used to spread misinformation before. In May 2022, Reuters fact-checked a claim that the picture was from that year's World Economic Forum meeting, when, in reality, it was years old.

The parody tweet spread in light of Silicon Valley Bank collapsing on March 10 and Signature Bank failing roughly 48 hours later, creating concern over the stability of the banking industry. We previously fact-checked claims surrounding the failures, like if an episode of "The Simpsons" predicted Silicon's closure and if more than a dozen banks collapsed under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

[See also from Snopes: How Can You Tell if a Post Is Satire/Parody?]



Baker, Sinéad. "Davos Says It Is Focusing on the Climate Crisis, but Its Billionaires and World Leaders Are Still Arriving on Private Jets." Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/davos-guests-private-jets-climate-crisis-2020-1. Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

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Light, Charlie. "How a Meme Account Became a Content Agency Doing $25k+ a Month." [Ghostwriter, Insert Newsletter Name Here], 25 Apr. 2022, https://charlielight.substack.com/p/how-a-meme-account-became-a-content.

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Ratcliffe, Rebecca. "Record Private Jet Flights into Davos as Leaders Arrive for Climate Talk." The Guardian, 22 Jan. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/22/record-private-jet-flights-davos-leaders-climate-talk.

Reuters Fact-Check. "Fact Check-Images Do Not Show Parked Passenger Jets in Davos WEF in May 2022." Reuters, 24 May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-davos-jets-idUSL2N2XG24O.

Reuters Pictures - DAVOS-MEETING/. https://pictures.reuters.com/archive/DAVOS-MEETING--RC146EC6DF10.html. Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.


Updated March 20, 2023, to include mention that Warren Buffett was in talks with the White House about possible investment in regional banks.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.