A Twitter account claiming to be “McDonald’s Hong Kong” almost had everyone fooled with its convincing portrayal of a brand’s social media account that was suffering a meltdown.
Created in October 2016, the parody account which then bore the official sounding @McDonaldsHK handle, initially posted tweets which seemed to be very legitimate McDonald’s promotional materials.
Despite obviously not having the blue verified badge, the account has maintained a believable persona online as a real branch of the global fast-food giant.
When it began posting tweets that seemed uncharacteristic of what a global brand might publish, it was as if netizens were witnessing a social media catastrophe.
Back in May, the verified McDonald’s Corp. Twitter account even tagged the fake account in a video post of a woman featuring the Hong Kong Branch’s actual bakery offerings.
The “McDonald’s Hong Kong” account responded last week with a tweet that would be unusual for a real branch to post: “this bitch freakin out about cheesecake while kids out here McDying. Relax”.
Interestingly, the account immediately returned to “character” with its following tweets promoting various McDonald’s products in Hong Kong.
Recently, the account started posting some disturbing tweets interspersed with normal promotional ones, effectively portraying a brand social media account going haywire.
Following the thread over the course of last week, one might surmise that the social media handler was going through a breakdown. The weird posts give a hint of the poster’s suicidal tendencies, family woes, and an apparent kidnapping.
The posts became widely shared and the account became a massive hit, racking up followers by the thousands in just a few days.
The fake account became too popular that McDonald’s itself felt it necessary to make a statement.
Responding to Gizmodo, McDonald’s spokesperson Terri Hickey wrote that they had nothing to do with “McDonald’s Hong Kong”.
“This is not a McDonald’s Twitter account but one that is impersonating a verified account,” Hickey was quoted as saying. “We are taking steps to have it promptly taken down.”
i’m sorry pic.twitter.com/RNMot4lNMa
— McDonald’s Hong Kong (@NotMcDonaldsHK) July 30, 2017
The fake account, which previously had the handle “Mc_DonaldsHK”, has since been updated to “NotMcDonaldsHK” and now including the words “Parody Account” in its bio.