Yea no “ the side hustle and making ends “ Is all good and cool trendy terms but when your knowingly using false information and trying to deceive someone it’s a whole different story. I call it “The lying scumbag Grifter “Yeah, I think you hit the nail there. Like you said, they're getting suggested on facebook and folks say "wow that looks good and it's not that expensive". The sellers are showing them pictures of cool props and selling them cheap crap instead.
As for why now? China, Vietnam and India has ever increasing small-run manufacturing capacity, technology has improved and gotten cheaper with CNC, 3D printing, digital prints, moulding etc.
Sites like Etsy are more prevalent, Amazon is opening up more and more as a sales and fulfillment platform for smaller independent retailers to sell random crap.
Plus people have been locked at home for months at a time during the pandemic and spent a lot of time indulging hobbies as well as binge watching content.
Then there's the whole culture of "the side hustle" which is really code for "cost of living is too high, wages are too low, I need another source of income" so being able to make and sell crap for a bit of extra cash is hugely tempting.
I don't think it's any one specific thing that's changed, it's just a whole bunch of small changes and evolutions in technology, commerce and society that have increased the prevalence of this. That's my speculation anyway.
It's a fascinating question and definitely food for thought. Thank you for raising it. I like this kind of thought expriment.