As the United States celebrates Independence Day today, Huawei is celebrating its own independence, from facts. The Chinese smartphone maker posted the photo you see above on its Google+ page in an attempt to emphasize the quality of the dual-camera system in its flagship phone, the Huawei P9. It's a brilliant image, with great color balance and enough lens flare to make J.J. Abrams slow clap.
One problem: that photo was taken with a $4,500 DSLR setup. Oops.
Since Google+ makes the EXIF metadata of every photo readily available, Android Police did some digging and found out that the photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, a combination which will cost you just under five grand. Now, the company didn't precisely state that the image came from a P9 in the now-deleted Google+ post, but it hinted and suggested as much as humanly possible in the post that the image came from Huawei hardware:
We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise with Deliciously Ella. The #HuaweiP9’s dual Leica cameras makes taking photos in low light conditions like this a pleasure. Reinvent smartphone photography and share your sunrise pictures with us. #OO
Huawei released this statement to The Verge:
It has recently been highlighted that an image posted to our social channels was not shot on the Huawei P9. The photo, which was professionally taken while filming a Huawei P9 advert, was shared to inspire our community. We recognize though that we should have been clearer with the captions for this image. It was never our intention to mislead. We apologize for this and we have removed the image.
So to all the social media experts, marketers, and brand managers posting photos to official accounts, making ads — which can turn out to be highly misleading — or searching for that special legacy partner to give your decent camera technology a nice rubber stamp, please think twice before proceeding.
Update: July 4th, 5:20PM ET: Updated the piece to include a statement from Huawei.