On August 2 2021, an Imgur account shared a TikTok clip, which purportedly showed a Buddha statue carried through floodwaters down a busy street:
Shared by u/GIFBATTLECADDLE, the clip was titled “Later Fools!” On August 1 2021, Twitter user @AnthroArchive shared the same clip without a caption (leading to one retweet simply reading “Beep beep motherfuckers”):
— Anthropocene Archive (@AnthroArchive) August 1, 2021
All variations displayed the handle of the same TikTok accoun, @BigBossBob310, who set the clip to Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country.” That video was published on December 14 2018 (and therefore was not related to 2021 flooding), and its caption indicated that TikTok removed a previous version uploaded by the user:
MAYBE THIS TIME TIKTOK WONT DELETE AT 46k LIKES …
On December 12 2018, a YouTube account shared the same clip, titled “Flooding in india buddha floats away among cars.” In the clip’s description, the user claimed:
this is a video that i shot in india during a flooding a large buddha statue floats among all the cars very spectacular weird funny
However, that video had a higher ratio of dislikes to likes. On August 1 2021, Twitter user Captain Disillusion (@CDisillusion, whose Patreon page indicates the user creates “videos debunking internet hoaxes”) tweeted a recent iteration:
2 years ago I added this 3D Buddha atop a crude 2D Virgin of Candelaria (which was added on top of the original floating recycling bin by a Spanish comedy troupe).
The joke was to make it even less plausible while improving the VFX.
And it STILL went viral 😒 https://t.co/x26xA61BSK
— Captain Disillusion (@CDisillusion) August 2, 2021
In that tweet, Captain Disillusion explained when and how he created the video, which was made atop an already altered bit of footage. He added that the joke was to make it “even less plausible while improving the [visual effects],” and he lamented that it “still went viral.” (We were not surprised by that turn of events.)
August 2021 posts of a Buddha statue flooding carried down a busy intersection were predictably viral. However, the clip did not show real-life events; it was created by a debunker of video-based internet hoaxes, and it was intended to demonstrate how videos can be deceiving. In a probably inevitable turn, the clip was quickly decoupled from its source and shared by people who claimed they filmed it.