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To answer the title question first, yes, it is. Roughly, I am going to say that it happens incidentally 90% of the time and intentionally the rest of the time. This comes from innocent ignorance 80-90% of the time as the English word "flea" is simply not known nearly as widely as the word "free" among the average people. The word 「フリー」(from "free") is ...


Both links explain that フリーマーケット comes from "flea market" not "free market" but the term needs some disambiguation. 蚤 (のみ)is the 漢字 for flea and the プログレッシブ dictionary lists 蚤の市 as "a flea market" The following extract from your second link explains the above and that フリー is not "free" but "flea": [Q:]英語でフリーマーケットは? [A:] ...

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