Back to the Future Hoax Claims the Future Has Arrived... Again

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 27 2012 5:00 PM

Sorry, Back to the Future Fans, the Future Still Isn’t Here Yet


Image courtesy of Simply Tap

A viral Facebook and Twitter post has Back to the Future fans declaring that the future has arrived. Don't shoot the messenger, but it hasn’t.

The post shows a still image from the scene in Back to the Future II in which Doc and Marty set the DeLorean’s dials to a day some 25 years in the future. The image circulating on social media shows the date as June 27, 2012.


That might sound plausible, as long as you didn’t fall for the exact same hoax two years ago. Back then, Internet pranksters altered the date to read July 5, 2010.

For those still holding out hope of a future filled with hoverboards and self-lacing Nikes, the actual date shown in the film is still more than three years away: Oct. 21, 2015.  

UPDATE: Mystery solved! The original hoax, in 2010, was the work of the film website Total Film, which confessed to posting the altered image as a joke. This time around it seems the post first appeared on the Facebook page of the mobile checkout app Simply Tap, which is promoting a box set of Back to the Future DVDs.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.