A widely shared post on Facebook, from an account calling itself “JD Wetherspoon” falsely claims that the pub chain Wetherspoons is offering free meals to people who spread it.
The post, which has now been shared almost 4,000 times, says: “Hello everyone! I’m Tim Martin, founder and owner of Wetherspoons. I am very pleased to introduce you to my son Steven Martin.
“As of next week I will be retiring and handing over all operations to my Son. Before I depart I’d like to do one last good deed to say thanks because without all of you we wouldn’t be here today.
“So everyone who shares&comments [sic] within the next 7 days will receive a meal for two on us! This can be used for Breakfast, lunch or dinner at any Wetherspoons establishment.”
When Full Fact contacted Wetherspoons, however, it confirmed that the post was not genuine and no such deal exists.
There were already several clues that the post should not be trusted. This includes the fact that Wetherspoons says on its official website that it doesn’t run any social media pages, adding: “Any profiles promoted on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are not endorsed or maintained by the company.”
The Facebook post was published by a page called “JD Wetherspoon”, although the page’s username is slightly different, appearing after the Facebook URL as /1JD.Wetherspoons. The page was also only set up in June 2021 and only has four public posts.
All of these posts appear to offer deals in return for sharing the post, commenting on it or following a link to a different website.
Furthermore, the man pictured alongside Mr Martin in the Facebook post—apparently his son according to the caption—appears to actually be a journalist who interviewed him in 2017.
This is not the first time we’ve seen misinformation about Wetherspoons shared on social media. In September it was claimed that the pub chain had stopped selling condoms over the period of mourning following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, while we fact checked another fake deal in 2021.
Image courtesy of Andy Mabbett