Hoaxes & Rumors

KFC Sues Over 8-Legged “Spider” Chicken Rumors

Credit: Alessandro Miliucci/Flickr • Photo illustration: Marc Fusco
KFC Sues Over 8-Legged “Spider” Chicken Rumors

KFC is seeking damages of over $240,000 from three Chinese firms it says has used social media to spread rumors about the company, such as the alleged use of an 8-legged chicken.

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The legal move by Yum Brands Inc.’s KFC unit in China is seen as a response to lower than expected sales in China, believed by the company to be related to over 4000 messages posted to WeChat app from 10 accounts operated by three companies. The messages include fake photos of deformed or modified chickens, and accusations of maggots found in a KFC order.

The altered photos of deformed chickens are sometimes referred to as “spider chickens” because they depict chickens with 8 legs and 6 wings, supposedly allowing KFC to produce drumsticks and wings in greater quantity.

In a press release posted on its Chinese website, KFC noted that the technology to create such a chicken doesn’t exist and the development of such a creature would put them in the running for the Nobel Prize.

The companies named in the suit have not yet responded to the complaint. In addition to $242,000 (1.5 million yuan) in damages, KFC is also seeking an apology and the cessation of these types of messages.

Qu Cuirong, KFC China’s president said of the WeChat messages, “This not only seriously misled consumers, but also hurt our brand.”

China is not the only place in which fake photos have circulated about KFC. For years, a miscaptioned photo has circulated on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter accusing KFC of creating featherless genetically-modified chickens.

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