Tales of Slenderman might feel as old as time … but was the creepypasta meme old enough to appear in Disney’s classic “Beauty and the Beast?” We found a video on YouTube that supposedly shows Slenderman lurking in the iconic ballroom scene. Here’s how we fact-checked it.
But first, who is Slenderman? Slenderman is a fictional character that originated as an Internet meme in 2009. The creepy image took off, with tons of people contributing art and other stories about Slenderman, most of which center around the character stalking and abducting children.
Check out who is sharing the information
The video was posted by a user named “mattydeaks.” Looking at the channel as a whole, there are actually several of these style videos, with Slenderman supposedly making appearances in “Frozen 2,” “Cinderella” and “Ratatouille.” Having so many of these videos is definitely a red flag.
Taking a look at the “About” section, mattydeaks labels themselves as a TikTok creator. Since all these videos look like TikToks, let’s head there to see if we can find any more information.
Head to the original source
As a general tip, it’s always a good idea to track down the original source of information. While in this case, the same person is cross-posting their own TikToks to their YouTube channel, it’s not always that cut and dry. Sometimes someone will see a claim on one platform and post it to another without including crucial information. So if you see a TikTok on YouTube or a tweet on Instagram, know that it could have lost some context along the internet journey.
Heading to mattydeaks’ TikTok account, we can see that they are actually a super popular creator on the app with over a million followers. Like we did with their YouTube channel, we looked at the profile as a whole. Skimming through their content, there are several video editing tutorials, including a video about how to edit yourself into movies.
Clearly, this is a creator with some impressive editing skills. But when it comes to content that could be digitally manipulated, one way you can fact-check is by heading to the original source and doing some comparing and contrasting of your own. Watching the ballroom scene, it’s clear that Slenderman doesn’t actually make an appearance in the movie.
Try a keyword search
Another thing you can do when you come across a video that might be manipulated is to just do a simple keyword search to see if it’s been reported on. Using words like “Slenderman in Disney Movies” brought up several articles, including this fact check from Snopes. Snopes rated this one as false, pointing out the lack of Slenderman in the original film. They reported that while there have been some weird things found in Disney movies, Slenderman has never been one of them.
Not Legit. The viral video was edited to include the creepy character. While this one might have been easy to debunk, keep in mind that technology is only making it easier for people to create digitally manipulated media. And sometimes, it’s designed to deceive you. For example, a video could be shared out of context to sway your opinion, edited down to shape a specific narrative or spliced together to make someone say things they would never actually say. Videos can also be sped up, slowed down, photoshopped or cropped. These are all things to keep in the back of your mind when you see a video that seems like it could be a little sus.