Monday, December 15, 2014

Are You Faking It? Spread What Is Real

Well, at least he's keeping it real! 
Unlike the photoshopped pic in the back.

In the day and age where images can be easily filtered, altered, photoshopped, cropped, and edited in anyway, it's hard to spot if an image is real or not. Many images go viral in the hopes to cause excitement, confusion, hysteria, or hope, when what they do is just make us more gullible. What we see is not really what we get: 100% of images in fashion magazines are retouched, and it doesn't stop there.

You don't have to be a professional photographer to photshop these days thanks to our advanced technology. We live in a society which thrives on shock value and "reality" is nothing more than a sitcom. Popular images and promoting any kind of news takes the front seat. Whether it is real or not.

Here are three quick ways to help you spot a faker:

1. Reverse Image Search
This picture went viral after someone posted that it was taken during Hurricane Sandy.
This picture went viral during Hurricane Sandy, when a person posted it  stating it was taking during the hurricane weather conditions brought on by Sandy. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery is continuously guarded. However, this picture was not taken during Hurricane Sandy. According to reverse image search and some other sleuthing, this picture was found to be taken a month prior. Don't worry if you were fooled, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Daily Beast thought it was real too.

2. Read Between the Lines

Published in The Riverfront Time, October 1, 2014
Published on November 27, 2014 by the Imgur user Bdawgid, then was reposted by the above user on another media site without obviously checking it authenticity.

Pictures go viral for many reasons. Research shows that one of the top reasons an image goes viral is when people have a positive (to them) emotional reason to share it. What may be positive, may not have the same effect on someone else. Many times when emotions are running on overload, it is easy to overlook clues in the image which could identify if that image is actually real or not. Case in point, the two images above. The first one is real, the second one went viral and is fake. The Ferguson case has become a top national news story, tied to many different types of emotions. If one would take the time to look at the writing on the sign, you could see that the writing has been altered. Regardless if you feel you are graphologist, you do have the responsibility to ensure someone else's words were really written.

3. Use Common Sense

When we first teach kids to read, one of the strategies we teach them is using their "context clues". Look at the details in the picture. What do you see? What do you think this picture is about? What is this picture portraying. There are ways you can use the clues in the picture to help you see if the picture is real or not.

Know as the "Accidental Tourist", this image circulated right after 9/11. 
  • Lighting; Doe the lighting and shadow images in the picture line up, make sense?
  • Coloring: Is the coloring throughout the picture consistent. This is different than using a filter from your phone which changes the coloring overall.
  • Distortion: Are there objects in the picture which are distorted in anyway?
  • Realistic: Seriously, is this image real? if you question it, it probably isn't!
  • Other helpful websites are: Snopes.comHoaxes.orgPaleofuture
As you can see from the "Accidental Tourist" image above, the lighting is off as there are different shadows in different areas of the pictures which are not consistent. The coloring is is fake, as 9/11 was a warm and sunny day, which is not reflected in this picture. The plane is obviously distorted and added, as the size is not even accurate. The plane in this photo is a smaller version (Boeing 757) then the plane (Boeing 767) which actually hit the WTC. Not to mention, do you really think it's realistic for someone to being taking a picture at the exact moment a plane is coming at you? No matter what, it went viral and stirred up the emotions set by the tragedy of that unforgettable day.

Be a digital careful what you share or pass on, unless you are certain it is the real thing. 
Spread what is real, not a rumor.

Throwback to the '80s, before digital cameras and photoshopping at your fingertips. Timex Social Club sings about "Rumors". The vintage video will make you laugh, if nothing else!


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