NTSB via Reuters

Following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, many wanted answers. It didn’t take long for differing answers to start flowing and contradicting each other with claims of a cyberattack, terrorism, suspicious management, infrastructural racism, and other potential misinformation appearing hours after the bridge fell.

Social media fuels misinformation on Key Bridge collapse

Many found quick answers on social media platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram.

Controversial influencers with huge follower counts, such as Andrew Tate claimed, “This ship was cyber-attacked” and honed in on the lights shutting off and the ship “deliberately” steering towards the bridge supports. 

Alex Jones reposted Tate’s claims, stating that “WW3 has already started.” The term “black swan event,” which is sometimes used to describe orchestrated distractions from nefarious actions, trended on X after the collision.

Others highlighted an Instagram reel suggesting the Francis Scott Key Bridge was demolished by explosive devices detonated at the time of the collision. 

The video does show the bridge collapse in Baltimore, with narration claiming there are explosions seen within the structure of the bridge. The appearance of these small explosions could be attributed to electrical wiring in the bridge. Politifact (Lean Left bias) found that the last part of the video is from a bridge explosion in Crimea, not Baltimore. 

Authorities from Maryland, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said there was no sign the crash was intentional or terrorism-related. They are still working to understand why the ship had sudden issues with power.

Is there anyone to blame?

Is there anyone responsible for such an event? Some on social media have sought to answer this, with an Instagram post highlighting allegations that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s sister-in-law Angela Chao was listed as the CEO of the company that owns the Dali. The allegations attempted to tie the February death of Chao, when she was found dead inside a Tesla submerged in a Texas pond, to the tragedy with the Dali. Authorities deemed the death an accident, however, and Chao’s company Foremost Group does not own nor have any connections with the Dali. 

The crew of the Dali, or at least some of them, may not be new to Mayday calls and collisions; the Dali struck a cement pier in 2016 in an incident blamed on operator error. However, many have come to the defense of the Dali’s crew, including Tom Sharpe from the Telegraph (Lean Right bias), who used to pilot ships himself and claims, “Things do go wrong.” Sharpe explains that when it comes to complete electrical failure, there might not be much the crew can do except attempt to warn those in the ship's path. 

Can we blame the bridge?

A post on X said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg blamed the design of the bridge and “racism” for the collapse. The post features a video clip of Buttigieg speaking on bridge design, but the claims and clip are from a White House briefing in 2021, meaning they had nothing to do with the Key Bridge collapse. 

Engineers and inspectors will surely comb over the bridge’s wreckage in the coming weeks, investigating the cause of the bridge’s collapse and how to mitigate it in the future. 

The bridge was rated “fair” by federal inspectors in 2008, but there were some concerns about a support column in 2022. It also lacked protective systems around its columns that could have absorbed the collision and prevented the collapse.

Engineers are asking questions now that consider how and what kind of protections could be implemented to protect bridges from such massive vessels like the Dali. 


Authorities have deemed the bridge collapse an accident. 

As this is still a developing story, this could change, but there’s no hard evidence to the contrary. Some things remain unclear, including why the electrical failure occurred, what caused the ship to steer directly toward the bridge column, and what, if anything, could have prevented the ship from destroying the bridge. With big questions, many try to give big answers even without evidence to back them up. 

Johnathon Held is a news assistant at AllSides. He has a Lean Right bias.

Reviewers and editors:

Henry A. Brechter, editor-in-chief (Center)

Joseph Ratliff, news editor/content designer (Lean Left)

Malayna Bizier, news assistant (Right)