Was Nike "forced to pay $1000 to every customer" via gift cards? No, that's not true: As of May 18, 2023, there is no indication that courts or authorities made the company do so.
The claim originated from a post published on Facebook on May 16, 2023. The caption said:
Nike is forced to pay $1000 to every customer! Click 'Apply Now' to claim yours!
The post contained a picture of a Nike gift card with a line formed under a huge poster with the company's logo on in the background.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu May 18 14:10:38 2023 UTC)
The photo used in the post, however, did not show a 2023 event. Back in 2015, the same image appeared in an article discussing the opening of a new store in Brooklyn, and the original photo did not show any $1000 Nike gift cards, portraying only a long line to the entrance.
The link in the post did not lead to the Nike official website. Instead, it showed a salmon recipe on an unrelated web page.
As of this writing, no credible media organizations reported about the purported Nike gift card giveaway in May 2023 -- instead, news stories discussed similar scams.
The use of search terms "Nike" and "$1000" on the Federal Trade Commission website led to warnings about fraudulent schemes:
(Source: FTC screenshot taken on Thu May 18 16:11:25 2023 UTC)
As of February 6, 2023, Nike was in the middle of a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit about employees' rights, pay disparities and the overall company's work culture. However, four months before that, a judge ruled against converting the case into a class action lawsuit.
Another lawsuit faced by the company involves the misclassification of workers and may cost Nike $530 million in fines. However, as of this writing, there is no final decision.
None of the litigations above focus on consumer rights, the quality of Nike products or any other similar issues affecting "every customer", and, thus, they are not the reason why the company was supposedly "forced to pay" $1000 to a very broad group of people.
There was one class action complaint filed in Missouri on May 10, 2023. It argues that the company allegedly misled its customers on how green its products are. However, that case hasn't been resolved, as of this writing.
The account that published the post which is the focus of this fact check claimed to be a journalist. However, it did not contain references to any professional affiliations. Its feed almost entirely consisted of similar money giveaway entries, mentioning Nike or Walmart.
A closer look at the profile picture suggests that it doesn't show a real human. As often happens with AI-generated faces, some details are off. For example, the supposedly existing "journalist" only wears one earring. Hive Moderation, a tool designed to detect AI-generated content, confirms that the profile headshot is not the face of a real person.
(Sources: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu May 18 15:28:38 2023 UTC; Hive Moderation screenshot taken on Thu May 18 15:20:42 2023 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)
This is not the first scam post involving Nike. In April 2023, Lead Stories found no evidence that the company was giving away gift cards for 1$.
Lead Stories tried to reach out to Nike over the phone and email. When we receive a response, this story will be updated as appropriate.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about online scams can be found here.