A video shared on TikTok in July 2022 authentically showed the sinking of the Titanic.
More than a century after the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers, the internet continues to obsess over the tragedy. Case in point: In July 2022, a fake video shared on TikTok that claimed to show the sinking of the cruise liner racked up nearly half a million likes.
A caption accompanying the video read: “Rare footage of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.” However, the video is a fake.
The Titanic left her port of Southhampton, England, for her maiden transatlantic voyage on April 10, 1912. Four days later, the nearly 900-foot ship collided with an iceberg near Newfoundland, Canada, at 11:40 p.m. Two hours and 40 minutes later. , the ship broke in two and sank, according to the Titanic Inquiry Project. Because many of its passengers were notable individuals, the sinking of the Titanic quickly became one of the premier international news stories of the 20th century — and with it came a slew of misinformation, notes the Titanic newspaper archive.
Apparently, this legacy of misinformation followed the sinking 110 years later.
The room that appears in the video presumably contains the Grand Staircase, which has been described as “one of the most impressive features aboard RMS Titanic and the center of first class activity”. James Cameron’s classic 1997 film “Titanic” resurfaced the centerpiece’s fame.
Back to the TikTok video. How do we know it’s wrong? First, listen to the audio. You can hear dramatic screams in the background, but there are no people visible in the footage.
It should also be mentioned that portable video cameras did not exist in 1912. Of course, cameras from the 1910s were more portable than those of earlier decades, but vintage camera museum The Living Image notes that “cameras from this era [were] still mostly wooden, folding construction” — heavy and difficult to move. There is surprisingly little authentic film footage of the Titanic just before and after the disaster, but it does exist. British Pathé was a newsreel producer throughout the 20th century, the pop-science website IFLScience reported. A six-minute newsreel produced following the disaster covers several scenes after the sinking of the ship and the subsequent search for survivors. The opening scenes in the images below show the Titanic as it left port for disaster.
As you can see, the authentic 1912 movie footage looks very different from the clips shared on TikTok.
Finally, we checked the Instagram account associated with the TikTok profile. This led us to someone presumably named Taylor Tituss, whose profile description reads, “I edit videos for fun.”
“So to clear things up, the video is fake,” Tituss told Snopes, adding that he took the footage from a YouTube clip posted on the platform in May 2021. A caption accompanying the video, which had over 1.5 million views as of this writing, claimed the following:
Mr. Joseph Davies, a 17-year-old boy who was a photographer on the Titanic the day it perished in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912.
This footage was recovered in 2020 by a historian investigating the sinking of the titanic.
He commented “A camera has been found in the Atlantic Ocean where the Titanic rests. It was a miracle that the camera was still intact after its discovery in 1989.”
“After years and years of trying to recover the footage found in the movies, they failed until 2020 when they managed to recover the footage using state-of-the-art technology.”
Mr. Joseph died in the sinking of the titanic, the ending where the video cuts out is when Mr. Joseph drowned trying to capture the sinking of the titanic. His remains have never been found.
We have previously verified the claim that an “old camera” from the Titanic was found at the bottom of the ocean. This is also fake, just like the video below:
As we previously reported, a young girl named Bernice Palmer captured photographs of the iceberg the Titanic collided with, as well as footage of survivors. The Natural Museum of American History published that Palmer carried a portable camera on the ship which responded to Titanic’s distress call:
In 1900, the Eastman Kodak company released the portable camera known as the “Brownie”. An immediate success, over 100,000 were sold in the first year. Canadian Bernice “Bernie” Palmer received a Kodak Brownie box camera, either for Christmas 1911 or for her birthday on January 10, 1912.
At the beginning of April, Bernie and his mother boarded the Cunard liner Carpathia in New York, for a Mediterranean cruise. The Carpathia had barely left New York when it received a distress call from the liner White Star Titanic on April 14. He rushed to the scene of the sinking and managed to save more than 700 survivors from the frozen North Atlantic. With her new camera, Bernice took photos of the iceberg that split open the Titanic’s hull below the waterline and also snapped snapshots of some of Titanic’s survivors.
We’ve looked at a number of rumors and claims surrounding the sinking of the Titanic (did we mention the internet is obsessed?). Let’s get those rumors out once and for all. Here are some other Snopes fact checks you might enjoy:
April 15, 1912 CE: The sinks of the Titanic | National Geographic Society. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/titanic-sinks. Accessed August 2, 2022.
1910s era cameras. Old vintage cameras, old fashioned camera. http://licm.org.uk/livingImage/1910Room.html. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Cameron, James. Titanic. Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Lightstorm Entertainment, 1997.
“Great Staircase”. Titanic Wiki, https://titanic.fandom.com/wiki/Grand_Staircase. Accessed August 2, 2022.
“Titanic’s Grand Staircase.” Wikipedia, 29 June 2022. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Grand_Staircase_of_the_Titanic&oldid=1095579315.
“Interesting clips on TikTok.” TikTok, https://www.tiktok.com/@clipz_r_us_/video/7123906717020278062?_r=1&_d=secCgYIASAHKAESPgo8l7jDOO69%2F8FwrVlvu2ep8xdlY7z%2BELF9%2FTqCesNUwIiXYwhQ2PZfUzJ4G27YFO7FJsTC1abD8k5j58W4GgA%3D&checksum=4302d0d8b587eafda1c7e917ee37f34a2a7c46f1be0920292ec1b49166236792&language=en&preview_pb=0&sec_user_id=MS4wLjABAAAA-lkqwAHfStUeZkapDd_k_rjsEJRnnBbKhvq05zi0bVTQSKzFBdqKThheOb99NdEv&share_app_id=1233&share_item_id=7123906717020278062&share_link_id=f95dae62-97b3 &utm_campaign=client_share&utm_medium=android&utm_source=copy. Accessed August 2, 2022.
“This haunting video is the only authentic footage of the Titanic before and after sinking.” IFLScience, https://iflscience.com/this-haunting-video-is-the-only-genuine-footage-of-the-titanic-before-and-after-it-sank-59628. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Titanic Disaster Newspaper Archive. https://www.paperlessarchives.com/titanic_newspaper_archive.html. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Titanic Investigation Project – Main page. https://www.titanicinquiry.org/. Accessed August 2, 2022.
Titanic Real Footage: Leaving Belfast for Disaster (1911-1912) | British pathe. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05o7sOAjtXE. Accessed August 2, 2022.
www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05o7sOAjtXE. Accessed August 2, 2022.