How to spot fake pictures on the Internet

By 30th May 2018 No Comments

Before you share that shocking or funny image on the Internet ask yourself if it is in fact authentic? Due to some rather gifted photo-shoppers, a few images that have gone viral on the web are in actual fact, fake. Here’s how you can make sure you don’t get duped.

The Basics

Let’s start with the things that should be obvious to the naked eye. Look for missing body parts, duplicate people, and half objects. Unfortunately, photo editing tools are getting easier to use so people are getting better at coming up with forgeries that look legitimate. If there is nothing too obvious, have a good look at the image and check for subtle oddities such as a shadow or weird lighting.

Even with great editing tools, it takes huge amounts of skill to get it to look “right”. Look for bad or reversed text and anything that makes the angle of an image look unreal. If the image is of a high quality, zoom in to check for imperfections. It’s also good to research the backstory of the image. If it doesn’t match up to what you can find online, then it’s probably fake.

Reverse Image Search

Reverse Search is a tool that allows you to use an Image to search for similar ones. Google has a feature where you can “drag and drop” your image into their Image Search feature and it will show you similar ones and where they came from. You might get many photos that look exactly like yours but if you are lucky, the original will pop up. If the fake photo is a mixture of various other images you might get a whole bunch of the different photos.

Bear in mind if the photo is from a reputable news source, it probably isn’t fake. Check out Snopes as well.

File Data

You will be able to check if an image has been faked just by simply looking at the file data. EXIF data will show you when and where an image was taken or if the data has been erased. It might not give you a 100% reason whether an image has been doctored but it will help with your investigation.

If you are proficient enough in Photoshop you can play around with levels and filters which might reveal edits.

You might not find flaws in images straight away, but the tips we’ve spoken about will give you a good chance at spotting fake images.


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