Today Is Not the Future: ‘Back to the Future’ Hoax Fools the Web

The man behind the Back to the Future hoax that circulated the Internet Wednesday said the viral incident was “just an accident.”

Do you remember the scene in Back To The Future when Doc sets the DeLorean to a future date and off they go? Despite what you’ve seen on social networks, today is not that day. Photo: Steve Berry

The image, posted on the Facebook page of craft company Colour Me Fun on Wednesday morning, was shared by 10,000 users, received nearly 1,000 Likes and 300 comments — many of which call out the post for having an inaccurate date.

However, it looks like the picture was first posted on the Facebook page of mobile checkout provider Simply Tap about an hour earlier, attracting only about 50 shares, writes Mashable.

Steve Berry, a social media manager for mobile checkout company Simply Tap, created the image, aiming to promote the Back to the Future trilogy Blu-ray box set for his client.

“We promoted the image fully confident in the knowledge that everyone was familiar with the original hoax from a couple of years ago,” Berry told reporters.

“We figured that no one would fall for the same joke twice, so the caption was deliberately replicated it word for word so people would get the reference.”

This is not the first time the Internet has been fooled by the same hoax. Two years ago, a similar Photoshopped image with July 05, 2010 as the date of the future circulated the web. So how do we fall for the same joke again?

The photo — which stated Wednesday’s date as “the future” — was a deliberate reference to the same hoax that was accidentally started by Total Film in 2010.

“A casual office conversation brought up the ‘fact’ that 5th July 2010 was mentioned in Back To The Future, so sensing a bit of fun for our Twitter feed (and without checking) we posted the Tweet. Then things got interesting,” explained Total Film at the time.

“Great Scott! It’s Future Day! In Back to the Future, Doc Brown sets the time circuits for 25yrs in the future.. that day is today!,” the original twit from @totalfilm read.

The company’s 30,000 followers began retweeting the post it gathered pace, and die-hard fans began replying demanding an explanation for the mistake.

“That’s how we started Future Day, it truly is an accidental global phenomenon,” wrote Total Film. “So apologies, film fans. We were wrong. It seems some lax research and average photoshop skills go a long way on Twitter these days.”

That weekend marked the film’s 25th anniversary. Back In The Future was released in the US on July 3, 1985.

In Robert Zemeckis’ 1989 sequel, the main characters were transported 30 years into the future, from Oct. 26, 1985 to Oct. 21, 2015.

Nonetheless, the ‘future’ image started to develop a life of its own. It was reposted on several Facebook pages, including the Facebook page of craft company Colour Me Fun, which was viewed more than 10,000 times.

Although the hoax may have ruffled a few feathers on the Internet today, the initiator of the accidental hoax confessed that he wished he would have included the client’s web address: “Just think of the traffic I’ve failed to gather,” Berry said.


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