Over the weekend, McDonald’s became the target of an online hoax on Twitter when a fake picture on TwitPic went viral as the accompanying hashtag #seriouslymcdonalds began trending. The picture was a fake notice saying “African-American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction.”
There are now many people wondering who actually fell for this hoax, since the sign is obviously not real and apparently the picture first surfaced online over a year ago. But let me tell you something: I fell for it. Browsing through my Twitter timeline on Saturday, a friend tweeted, “Is this even legal? Isn’t this a form of racism?” with a link to the picture. After reading the sign myself, I was in disbelief. I love my McDonald’s more than nutritionists would approve of, and couldn’t believe they would be this publicly insensitive. I contemplated for a little while whether it was real or not, and gave in to gullibility. And yes, I admit, I retweeted it.
Looking back on the prank now, I can’t believe I thought it was real. First of all, upon closer inspection of the picture, the sign doesn’t even look real. The sign is posted sloppily with masking tape…on the outside of the door. On top of that, no worldwide corporation would actually do this; it would be too detrimental to business. In forums and on Twitter, many people were announcing that they were boycotting McDonald’s or would never eat there again. And the best tip-off: the 800 number on the sign is actually the number to a KFC customer satisfaction hotline. McDonald’s has released official statements and taken to Twitter to combat the bad publicity.
Did anyone else see this over the weekend? Did you fall for it, or were you smarter than me? What are your thoughts on the incident?