The account was apparently created in October 2016, and initially posted just a few tweets that seemed like legitimate promotional material advertising the chain’s offerings of Big Macs and spicy chicken sandwiches.
But then, something odd happened: The official, verified McDonald’s Corp. Twitter account posted a video of a woman touting the Hong Kong branch’s bakery offerings, tagging the first account.
The “McDonald’s Hong Kong” account responded this week, writing “this bitch freakin out about cheesecake while kids out here McDying. relax”.
It soon returned to posting various promotional images of McDonald’s offerings in Hong Kong.
But over the course of the last week, the account began inserting less-than-subtle messages between the promotional tweets. They told a tale of suicidal ideation, glimpses of a shattered family life and the implication someone, possibly McDonald’s Hong Kong, had kidnapped the tweeter’s son.
The pace only picked up this weekend.
The account has begun picking up hundreds of followers at lightning speed.
In a statement, McDonald’s told Gizmodo they had nothing to do with “McDonald’s Hong Kong” and said the fun would soon be over.
“This is not a McDonald’s Twitter account but one that is impersonating a verified account,” spokesperson Terri Hickey wrote. “We are taking steps to have it promptly taken down.”
While the account previously used the handle “Mc_DonaldsHK” and contained no warning it was a fake, it has since been updated to “NotMcDonaldsHK” and to have the words “Parody Account” in its bio.
Since the account was registered and sending out McDonald’s-themed tweets long before it was tagged by the official, verified McDonald’s corporate account, it would appear a prankster managed to luck out on a long-con hoax.
McDonald’s just launched a delivery service in the US, and its very real Hong Kong branch is in the middle of an upscale “McDonald’s Next” rebranding. In March, another McDonald’s Twitter account called Trump a “disgusting excuse of a President” and added “also you have tiny hands,” but the company later claimed it was hacked.
Update: McDonald’s has confirmed the account was a hoax, not a viral brand stunt, and this post has been updated accordingly. Also, this post has been updated to reflect the handle of the account has changed since this article was written.