Title Title
How to track down manipulated images online Too good to be true? How to verify online images
Summary Summary
Fake imagery is just as misleading as fake news. Use this checklist to authenticate the sources of pictures Fake imagery is just as misleading as fake news. Use this checklist to authenticate the sources of pictures
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
<b>Online images can have a powerful effect on how people view the world. They can be used as propaganda, make or break careers, influence opinion and cause people to commit drastic actions. So it's important to be sure that such images are real. <em>WikiTribune</em> spoke to some image verification experts about spotting the fakes, and has created this guide.</b> <b>Online images can have a powerful effect on how people view the world. They can be used as propaganda, make or break careers, influence opinion and cause people to commit drastic actions. So it's important to be sure that such images are real. <em>WikiTribune</em> spoke to some image verification experts about spotting the fakes, and has created this guide.</b>
Fake images go back further than you might think. For as long as there has been photography, there have been examples of fake imagery. The earliest cases of photograph manipulation stretch back to the <a href="http://pth.izitru.com/1860_13_00.html">1860s</a>. But since the invention of computers and the dawn of the internet, false imagery has become almost ubiquitous. Fake images go back further than you might think. For as long as there has been photography, there have been examples of fake imagery. The earliest cases of photograph manipulation stretch back to the <a href="http://pth.izitru.com/1860_13_00.html">1860s</a>. But since the invention of computers and the dawn of the internet, false imagery has become almost ubiquitous.
In 2010, Malaysian politician Jeffrey Wong Su En released a <a href="http://pth.izitru.com/2010_07_00.html">doctored photo </a>of himself being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and in 2012, fake images of presidential candidate Mitt Romney with children wearing T-shirts spelling out <a href="http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/money.asp">"MONEY"</a> went viral during his campaign. In 2010, Malaysian politician Jeffrey Wong Su En released a <a href="http://pth.izitru.com/2010_07_00.html">doctored photo </a>of himself being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and in 2012, fake images of presidential candidate Mitt Romney with children wearing T-shirts spelling out <a href="http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/money.asp">"MONEY"</a> went viral during his campaign.
The key to finding out whether an image is authentic is finding its original source. The fake image below, adapted from a 2002 Associated Press photo of George Bush visiting a school, has since been<a href="https://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/bushbook.asp"> debunked by <em>Snopes</em></a>. The key to finding out whether an image is authentic is finding its original source. The fake image below, adapted from a 2002 Associated Press photo of George Bush visiting a school, has since been<a href="https://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/bushbook.asp"> debunked by <em>Snopes</em></a>.
[caption id="attachment_11196" align="aligncenter" width="510"]<img class="size-full wp-image-11196" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/bushbook-1.jpg" alt="fake image of george bush reading book upside down on 9 11" width="510" height="405" /> Fake image of George Bush reading book upside down while visiting George Sanchez Charter School with the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry (CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11196" align="aligncenter" width="510"]<img class="size-full wp-image-11196" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/bushbook-1.jpg" alt="fake image of george bush reading book upside down on 9 11" width="510" height="405" /> Fake image of George Bush reading book upside down while visiting George Sanchez Charter School with the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry (CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
<h2>1 Find the image</h2> <h2>1 Find the image</h2>
The easiest way to verify an image is to do a Google image reverse search (this tool works best for images from articles and blog posts) by copying and pasting the URL <a href="https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl">here</a>. The easiest way to verify an image is to do a Google image reverse search (this tool works best for images from articles and blog posts) by copying and pasting the URL <a href="https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl">here</a>.
By changing the search parameters to oldest, or typing in specific words associated with the event depicted you might be able to find the image on a reputable news or picture agency website. Once this happens you can assume it's genuine. By changing the search parameters to oldest, or typing in specific words associated with the event depicted you might be able to find the image on a reputable news or picture agency website. Once this happens you can assume it's genuine.
<h2>2 Can't find the image?</h2> <h2>2 Can't find the image?</h2>
Try narrowing your search by date. If you can't find the picture you are looking for try doing an image reverse search with <a href="https://www.tineye.com/">TinEye</a> or <a href="https://yandex.com/images/">Yandex </a>(better for non English websites). For images you find on Reddit, use <a href="http://karmadecay.com/">Karma Decay</a>. Try narrowing your search by date. If you can't find the picture you are looking for try doing an image reverse search with <a href="https://www.tineye.com/">TinEye</a> or <a href="https://yandex.com/images/">Yandex </a>(better for non English websites). For images you find on Reddit, use <a href="http://karmadecay.com/">Karma Decay</a>.
If you still can't find the photograph try horizontally flipping it with a photo editor. Or use <a href="http://flipapicture.com/">Flipapicture</a>. When people create a fake picture they often start with a genuine image and then horizontally flip it before manipulation, so it's harder to find in reverse image searches. If you still can't find the photograph try horizontally flipping it with a photo editor. Or use <a href="http://flipapicture.com/">Flipapicture</a>. When people create a fake picture they often start with a genuine image and then horizontally flip it before manipulation, so it's harder to find in reverse image searches.
<h2>3 My image has a different caption which alters the context</h2> <h2>3 My image has a different caption which alters the context</h2>
The original caption of an image can be different to subsequent versions but the meaning shouldn't change. Be skeptical of accounts posting an image multiple times with exactly the same caption. The original caption of an image can be different to subsequent versions but the meaning shouldn't change. Be skeptical of accounts posting an image multiple times with exactly the same caption.
Someone may deliberately write an entirely new caption to alter the image's meaning and use it to produce a made-up story. This is how many fake news stories start. Check out the example on<a href="http://www.snopes.com/2017/08/02/donald-trump-wrestlemania-23/"><em> Snopes</em> </a>on how a photograph of Donald Trump lying on the floor, after participating in a wrestling match, has been used for various fake stories, such as him having a heart attack or being assassinated. Someone may deliberately write an entirely new caption to alter the image's meaning and use it to produce a made-up story. This is how many fake news stories start. Check out the example on<a href="http://www.snopes.com/2017/08/02/donald-trump-wrestlemania-23/"><em> Snopes</em> </a>on how a photograph of Donald Trump lying on the floor, after participating in a wrestling match, has been used for various fake stories, such as him having a heart attack or being assassinated.
<h2>4 My image isn't the same as the original</h2> <h2>4 My image isn't the same as the original</h2>
If you have found the image on a news or picture agency, but your version looks slightly different, then it may have been edited. Keep refining your search and putting in different search terms. Eventually you should find when the original image was first altered. If you have found the image on a news or picture agency, but your version looks slightly different, then it may have been edited. Keep refining your search and putting in different search terms. Eventually you should find when the original image was first altered.
After the Charlottesville protests in the U.S. in August 2017, an <a href="http://www.snopes.com/antifa-member-photographed-beating-police-officer/">image</a> of an anti-fascist protester hitting a police officer was circulated on social media. In fact, this photograph was taken eight years ago, during riots in Athens, Greece, in December 2009. After the violence in Charlottesville, it was digitally manipulated and an anti-fascist logo was added to one member. After the Charlottesville protests in the U.S. in August 2017, an <a href="http://www.snopes.com/antifa-member-photographed-beating-police-officer/">image</a> of an anti-fascist protester hitting a police officer was circulated on social media. In fact, this photograph was taken eight years ago, during riots in Athens, Greece, in December 2009. After the violence in Charlottesville, it was digitally manipulated and an anti-fascist logo was added to one member.
You can also see whether something has been digitally altered by using <a href="https://www.izitru.com/">Izitru.</a> Users with more technical experience should try<a href="http://fotoforensics.com/"> FotoForensics.</a> You can also see whether something has been digitally altered by using <a href="https://www.izitru.com/">Izitru.</a> Users with more technical experience should try<a href="http://fotoforensics.com/"> FotoForensics.</a>
<h2>5 What about videos?</h2> <h2>5 What about videos?</h2>
If you want to investigate a video you can take individual stills and run them through an image reverse search. Yet this is both time consuming and there holds no guarantee that the particular pictures will be found. <a href="http://citizenevidence.amnestyusa.org/">Youtube Dataviewer, </a>by human rights group Amnesty International, extracts four thumbnails from any YouTube video and allows you to carry out a reverse image search much faster. If you want to investigate a video you can take individual stills and run them through an image reverse search. Yet this is both time consuming and there holds no guarantee that the particular pictures will be found. <a href="http://citizenevidence.amnestyusa.org/">Youtube Dataviewer, </a>by human rights group Amnesty International, extracts four thumbnails from any YouTube video and allows you to carry out a reverse image search much faster.
[caption id="attachment_11231" align="aligncenter" width="546"]<img class="size-full wp-image-11231" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/Screenshot-2017-10-24-16.51.41.png" alt="4 screenshots from youtube dataviewer" width="546" height="970" /> Four screenshots taken from a video on Youtube Dataviewer (CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11231" align="aligncenter" width="546"]<img class="size-full wp-image-11231" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/Screenshot-2017-10-24-16.51.41.png" alt="4 screenshots from youtube dataviewer" width="546" height="970" /> Four screenshots taken from a video on Youtube Dataviewer (CC BY SA 3.0)[/caption]
This guide was produced after <em>WikiTribune</em> interviewed <a href="https://twitter.com/danieljevon">Dan Evon</a>, an image verifier expert at <em><a href="http://www.snopes.com/">Snopes</a> </em>and <a href="https://twitter.com/henkvaness">Henk Van Ess</a>, a fact-checking and image expert. Check out Van Ess's Medium post, "<a href="https://medium.com/@henkvaness/how-to-date-a-mysterious-missile-launcher-78352ca8c3c3">Inside the trenches of an information war</a>" for more detailed advice on verifying images. This guide was produced after <em>WikiTribune</em> interviewed <a href="https://twitter.com/danieljevon">Dan Evon</a>, an image verifier expert at <em><a href="http://www.snopes.com/">Snopes</a> </em>and <a href="https://twitter.com/henkvaness">Henk Van Ess</a>, a fact-checking and image expert. Check out Van Ess's Medium post, "<a href="https://medium.com/@henkvaness/how-to-date-a-mysterious-missile-launcher-78352ca8c3c3">Inside the trenches of an information war</a>" for more detailed advice on verifying images.
<h2>Usefull Twitter accounts debunking fake images:</h2> <h2>Usefull Twitter accounts debunking fake images:</h2>
<em><a href="https://twitter.com/PicPedant">PicPedant</a></em> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/PicPedant">PicPedant</a></em>
<a href="https://twitter.com/hoaxeye"><em>HoaxEye</em></a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hoaxeye"><em>HoaxEye</em></a>
<em><a style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;" href="https://twitter.com/Hoaxoffame">Hoax of Fame</a></em> <em><a style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;" href="https://twitter.com/Hoaxoffame">Hoax of Fame</a></em>
Categories Categories
Internet Internet
Article type Article type
explainer explainer
Tags Tags
Author byline Author byline
No No
Has hero Has hero
No No
Hero Alignment Hero Alignment
full full
Hero Image URL Hero Image URL
None None
Featured Image URL Featured Image URL
Sources Sources

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us