A Twitter account pretending to be the official Twitter of McDonald’s Hong Kong went viral this weekend with a spectacularly disturbing series of tweets that appeared to be those of a social media employee having a meltdown in between advertising fast food promotions. For days people wondered what was going on, but McDonald’s says the account is a hoax.
The fake McDonald’s Hong Kong Twitter account was a very long-running hoax, too. According to Gizmodo, the account started posting in October 2016. For a year, it only posted promotional ads for McDonald’s Hong Kong food. It looked just like a real corporate account. It advertised limited-time offerings and special tie-in promotions with the Minions movie.
Then, without warning, things got weird. The account started posting suicidal messages and writing about a broken home and a missing son. But it kept posting about McDonald’s food, too.
The account started picking up followers quickly. It went from a few hundred to more than 24,000 over the weekend, and some of the disturbing tweets were liked more than 90,000 times and retweeted more than 50,000 times.
Because the account had been posting ads for so long, at first people thought it might be real. McDonald’s later confirmed that the account was a hoax. Since then, the fake McDonald’s Hong Kong account was nearly suspended by Twitter for impersonating McDonald’s Hong Kong. It has since re-branded as a parody account. Now the account profile clearly states that it is a parody account, and the Twitter address associated with it has been changed from @Mc_DonaldsHK to @NotMcDonaldsHK.
It’s still posting ads for McDonald’s food, though.