AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post from a site called Australia-News.Co that claimed thousands of Australians had abandoned the Netflix streaming service, switching instead to a new free service for Australians only, offered by Movieflix.
The Facebook post features a picture of a TV news presenter in front of a screen featuring a Netflix logo and Australian flag. The caption on the post reads: “Thousands of people in Australia cancel their Netflix subscriptions because of this new free service”.
The post had been shared more than 1000 times.
The Facebook post links to a website page called Au News featuring a June 28, 2019 Movieflix news story and the headline “There is a better service than Netflix … and it’s free for the Australians!”, by Tim Brooks.
The story claims Netflix lost thousands of Australian users because a new and identical MovieFlix service was offering free lifetime subscriptions to people living in Australia. It said the first 5000 people who signed up for MovieFlix would get the service for free, and warned the limit had almost been reached and the offer would end soon. There are more than 10 comments under the story celebrating the MovieFlix offer and encouraging others to sign up. Even the names in the comments section click through to the MovieFlix sign up page requesting an email, name, address and credit card details.
Every other tab on the Au News page clicks through to the same MovieFlix sign up page requesting an email, name, address and credit card details. The Politics, Sport, Science tabs are not active and all click through to this sign up page.
Netflix told AAP FactCheck it did not know anything specific about the MovieFlix post. “Unfortunately, scams are common on the internet and target popular brands such as Netflix and other companies with large customer bases to lure users into giving out personal information,” Netflix said.
Western Australia’s Consumer Protection, a division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, tweeted a warning about the MovieFlix Facebook post on May 24, 2019, together with a screen shot of the post. “Beware an ad on Facebook that claims to be promoting ‘MovieFlix’ but is a phishing scam designed to steal credit card details. If you provided yours, watch your accounts or cancel cards,” @ConsumerWA said in its tweet.
Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), retweeted Consumer Protection WA’s post on May 27, 2019. Scamwatch states its role is to provide information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
The ACCC told AAP FactCheck it had received a number of reports about the MovieFlix story and “all reports state that a Facebook advertisement was how they came in contact with the service”. Several people reported providing personal information including their credit or debit card details, the ACCC said.
AAP FactCheck found the same and similar MovieFlix news stories on multiple internet sites in English and other languages and targeting other countries including Austria, Canada, “Nordic countries”, the UK, USA and Ireland. Most of these sites and stories functioned in the same way as the Facebook post targeting Australians.
Based on this evidence, AAP FactCheck found the Facebook post from Au News about MovieFlix to be false. AAP FactCheck found Au News was not a legitimate news site and the story was created to drive people to a MovieFlix subscription page to reveal their identity and credit card details.
False – The headline, text and image are all fake.
First published on July 3, 2019 at 12:01 AEST