Supposed upcoming Rolleiflex camera turns out to be fake news
As reported by Fstoppers, a recent “Coming Soon” tweet about an upcoming Rolleiflex digital camera emerged, but ended up being disappointingly fake.
While many photographers would no doubt love to see a new digital TLR version of a Rolleiflex twin-lens camera emerge, the Twitter publicity about its impending release was just too good to be true.
As it turned out, a college student named Josh Knox had made the product post as a “study on the world of product pirating and the spread of misinformation on the internet,”
Whether his experiment was a failure or success would depend on how you look at his motives, but it certainly took off when it initially appeared. The Twitter post went viral and was quickly picked up by a bunch of different websites.
Many photographers got excited about the idea of these unique historical cameras being given a modern rebirth and members of the general public did too.
The “Coming Soon” post hinted that a digital Rolleiflex would start shipping in April of 2023 and got hundreds of retweets along with more than 120,000 views.
Comments on the tweet were all over the place, with some coming from seriously excited people who couldn’t wait to buy the device and others quickly guessing it was a hoax but having their comments largely ignored.
Eventually, after seeing a potential legal and social media problem with false advertising and misuse of a still-active brand name, Knox decided to spill the beans about his misdirection.
He then posted a follow-up tweet called “My Apology” in which he explained that he’d made up the post for academic reasons.
According to the student, “I never expected the project to grow into what it did.” Well oops.
He also explained that he didn’t even realize Rollei is still operational and maintains full ownership of its branding. Thus, using their name for his fake “Official Rolleiflex” Twitter handle could have even exposed him to a lawsuit or at least a possible Twitter ban.
In reality, the Rollei brand hasn’t made a new camera since 2014, though they continue to produce assorted photographic equipment.
Knox later changed the Twitter handle to “Fans of Rolleiflex” when he released his apology tweet and hasn’t suffered any major blowback since.
With all that said, a digital twin-lens Rolleiflex really would be one seriously awesome thing to see. Hopefully, someone high up in the company took note of how viral this little college experiment went and started making some new product plans…