If you are a frequent user of social media applications X and Instagram, you have probably seen the viral Imran Khan mask that gained popularity overnight after a man was sighted wearing it, along with a Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) flag wrapped around his neck. Soon people learnt that the mask was available on the ecommerce platform Daraz and several social media users either jokingly or seriously expressed an interest in it.
A message has been circulating on Whatsapp claiming that this mask, which was originally retailing for Rs 345 on Daraz, is now out of stock after a million of them were sold in just one day. The message also says, “All factories are buzzing with orders and the product website is down.”
The message is misleading because it falsely claims that 1 million Imran Khan masks have been sold. Profit verified this claim with Daraz and it was revealed that even though the retail price of the mask had gone up from Rs 345 to Rs 499 and even Rs 999 by some sellers, a million copies had not been sold.
In fact, the item was sold less than a 1000 times on Daraz. This confirms that the viral message, marked as ‘forwarded many times’ on Whatsapp contains misinformation regarding the popularity of the product.
The same mask was being sold on Daraz by different sellers for different prices. The last remaining seller of the Imran Khan mask had only sold 36 masks for Rs 499, before the item was removed from the website, like it had been for other sellers of the same stock keeping unit (SKU).
However, that does not negate the fact that despite low sales, the mask had caught people’s attention. According to google trends, which shows how many times a particular prompt is searched on Google, interest in an Imran Khan mask has surged since last year December, hitting a record high in 2024 compared to the past five years. Before January-February 2024, the phrase “Imran Khan Mask” had been the most searched on Google in February 2021, with over 75 searches. In January-February 2024, the search count exceeded 100.