Facebook Posts About McDonald's Customers 'Furious' at Prices Lead to Scammy, AI-Written Articles

This is the story of a coordinated effort managed from outside of the U.S. to lure users to engage with rage bait about rising fast-food prices.

Published April 12, 2024

Updated April 15, 2024
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In a coordinated effort in early April 2024, dozens of Facebook pages displayed posts including an image with the words, "McDonald's Customers Furious Over New Prices." The posts asked users to click on a link in the comments to read an article on one of numerous websites.

In this story, we'll break down the reaction from users interacting with the posts, which showed signs of being created on Facebook pages managed outside of the U.S. We'll also take a look at the scammy nature of the websites hosting the outdated, artificial intelligence-generated article linked under the posts. Further, we'll perform a ballpark comparison of McDonald's prices in several American cities and states.

The Facebook Posts Are Rage Bait

The image in the Facebook posts featured a green McDonald's logo next to the traditional red logo. The green logo is a years-old initiative in Europe to promote a "greener" and more eco-friendly look for the company, reported in 2009.

A coordinated effort on Facebook in April 2024 spammed posts with the six words McDonald's Customers Furious Over New Prices.

The headline "McDonald's Customers Furious Over New Prices" might bring to mind news of rising fast-food prices in the U.S., as well as California's $20 minimum-wage hike that went into effect for some fast-food workers on April 1, 2024.

"Thank the California governor who decided that McDonald's workers get 20 dollars an hour!" a user wrote under one of the Facebook posts. "Joe Bidenomics," another person commented.

However, the goal of these posts about prices at McDonald's was not to inform users about recent developments in the fast-food industry. Rather, the aim was to drive clicks and discussion and in some cases to scam susceptible users, all based on rage bait and outdated information contained in the AI-generated articles.

Posts Target Conservatives and Christians

The caption above all of the Facebook posts read, "It's officially unaffordable now! Just take a look at the new prices! In the first commnt [sic]." All of the posts on the many pages misspelled the word "comment" — an unmistakable indicator of a coordinated effort.

Some of the names of the many Facebook pages posting the content appeared to be geared toward American conservatives and followers of Christianity. A sampling of the page names included Conservative Connection, Today USA, Soldier Coming Home, I Love My Grandchildren, God is Great, Cutest Kittens, Tears of Faith, Amazing Thoughts, Faith over Fear, Very Interesting Things, Devotional Centre and Aging Gracefully, among dozens of others.

The Facebook pages are managed by people residing in Romania, Macedonia, Iran, Albania and perhaps other countries, according to location data displayed on their "page transparency" tabs.

Under the posts, the owner of each Facebook page left a comment leading to one of many different websites where an article could be found reporting on the supposed news. Some of the websites still displayed the words "Sample Page," meaning their owners hadn't bothered to alter the basic templates used to create the pages. Again, the goal here was not to inform users but instead to lure them into clicking, engaging and potentially falling for scams.

AI-Generated Article About McDonald's Prices

Many websites linked from the pinned comment under each Facebook post hosted the same article. These websites were filled with ads, some that could be considered disturbing. The article began as follows:

The Rising Cost of McDonald's: What's Behind It?

McDonald's, a beloved fast-food chain, has recently come under fire for its rising prices. Despite the public outcry and growing concerns about the increasing cost of fast food, McDonald's recently reported a substantial 14% increase in revenue, reaching an impressive $6.69 billion. This revelation has sparked a passionate debate among consumers, industry experts, and economists alike.

One incident that drew attention to this issue was a viral TikTok video from Christopher Olive, a popular influencer with over 400,000 followers. In the video, Olive expressed his disbelief after being charged a whopping $16 for a standard "happy meal" at McDonald's. This incident served as a wake-up call for many, leading to a closer examination of the factors contributing to the surge in prices.

This article was entirely generated by AI, according to scans of the full text using the AI-detection tools on, and

Scams on the Articles' Websites

Some of the websites hosting the article displayed full-page takeovers appearing to scam users.

For example, one website falsely claimed to detect the threat of a virus and asked users to visit a potentially dangerous website. Another website asked users, "Click 'Allow' to confirm that you are not a robot." However, clicking "allow" in the user's browser would enable the website to send users scammy notifications and had nothing to do with proving a user wasn't a robot.

Outdated Financial Information

The first paragraph of the article said McDonald's saw a 1% increase in revenue to $6.69 billion. This was an outdated reference to the company's third-quarter financial results released on Oct. 30, 2023.

$16.10 for a Happy Meal?

The TikTok video mentioned in the article from a user named "Christopher Olive" (@topherolive) was originally posted on Dec. 21, 2022. In the video, the user shows a receipt from a McDonald's in Post Falls, Idaho, displaying the date of Dec. 20, 2022. The order appeared to be for a double bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal with a large Sprite and large fries, not a Happy Meal as the AI-generated article claimed. The total with tax was displayed as $16.10.

As of April 12, 2024, the total cost of the same meal at the Post Falls McDonald's location was $18.01, according to the McDonald's mobile app – a nearly $2 rise over the course of about 15 months. Meanwhile, a Happy Meal was only $5.50.

Ballpark Comparison of McDonald's US Prices

For the sake of comparison and to provide additional context regarding discussion about fast-food prices across the country, the exact same food order of a double bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal with a large Sprite and large fries cost the following prices at individual McDonald's locations in the following U.S. cities in April 2024:

  • $18.38 in San Francisco
  • $16.85 in New York
  • $15.92 in Pleasant Hill, California
  • $15.83 in San Diego
  • $15.21 in San Luis Obispo, California
  • $14.63 in Germantown, Tennessee
  • $14.59 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • $14.33 in Phoenix
  • $14.08 in Omaha, Nebraska
  • $13.41 in Orlando, Florida
  • $13.11 in Santa Monica, California
  • $12.45 in Pasadena, California
  • $11.99 in Houston
  • $11.97 in Bryant, Arkansas

These prices reflect individual McDonald's locations and do not serve as an average for each city or state. The locations were randomly chosen in order to provide ballpark figures.


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April 15, 2024: This report was updated to correct the location of Orlando.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.