Photo retouching services lift lid on Coronavirus fake news images spreading faster than the pandemic itself.
Fake news, eh.
One of the most bandied around buzzwords of recent years. One which transcends sectors, industries, societies and indeed, generations. You might be forgiven for believing that there’s been more fake news images circulating than real, tangible news for the past couple of years. You wouldn’t be necessarily wrong, either.
Increasing numbers of questionnable ‘media outlets’ have busied themselves. Peddling all manner of what appeared to be seemingly fake headlines under closer scrutiny. And not so close examination, in some of the more laughable cases. Even the established and redoubtable broadcasting services have fallen victim to fake news images pitched in the midst of hoax stories.
An Epidemic of Coronavirus Fake News Images and Misinformation
From the throw-away, light-hearted and harmless through to the potentially more damaging and intentionally dangerous examples of the newly-adopted genre. Everyone has been privy to at least one count of fake news images. Including the highest office on the planet, that of the White House itself.
Which has made the topic hot of late, with ‘fake news’ being amongst President Trump‘s most favourite of phrases. Typically espoused when he’s defending one of his more curious monologues which leave the perma-puzzled in his wake. And frequented even more than the host of superlatives he insists on firing left, right and centre.
Although, conversely Trump himself often appears to propogate his own fake news stories with consumate ease. Look no further than his recent bold statements suggesting American citizens can best protect themselves from the coronavirus simply by injecting disinfectant into their bodies. That’s when he wasn’t claiming that irradiating patients’ bodies with UV light would also do the trick (insert LOL emoji here).
Lockdown Sees Upsurge in Coronavirus Fake News Images
Speaking of which, during these unprecedented times we have all witnessed a tsunami of Coronavirus fake news images being given copious amounts of airtime, as a pandemic of biblical proportions has swept the globe and impacted on all our lives to varying extents. Existing to further unnerve the already anxious with unfounded claims and fabricated statistics. Which serve only to spread even more fear during these uncertain times.
Preying on those who have no means of questioning (or challenging) the often scurrilous headlines, the fake news being widely distributed in seconds by social media outlets, has highlighted the on-going issue. And it’s not merely ambiguous words which are continuing to plant seeds in people’s heads. But a slew of Coronavirus fake news images too.
Coronavirus Fake News Images Have Gained Further Traction as Panic Spreads
Words themselves don’t paint the full picture. Whether they are genuine or not. And images have been equally doctored as the #trending fake news stories have continued to gain yet more colourful traction in our social conscience of late. The omnipresence of fake images to accompany – or be free-standing – of fake news stories has gathered much momentum. Seeping ever more into the sphere of the ‘new’ normal. The pre-lockdown ‘new’ normal, that is. The much-heralded post-lockdown ‘new normal’ will doubtless conjure up yet more intriguing variations on a mostly nefarious fake news images theme.
It’s as though society’s appetite for what can often be blatantly insincere news edits has perpetuated the culture for the inescapably unreal. As much via the visual as the written word itself.
As Jesus Jones Once Asked; Are These Coronavirus Fake News Images Real, Real, Real?
Only minus the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence.
And the ‘Coronavirus fake news images’ bit bolted onto the end for effect.
Deciphering the unbelievable soundbites and farcical rhetoric based on groundless hearsay (at best), or grandiose hyperbole (at worst) printed in the written word is a challenge. Yet some of the fake news images doing the rounds are a little less difficult to spot.
At least for us pros. Those of us equipped with an inherant knack for sifting through and extracting the chaff from the wheat.
Often it’s only photo retouching services providers who can distill what’s not quite what it appears at first or second glance. Steeped as we are in weeding out fakery. But then it’s not always that easy for us to determine.
Is Fake News Images Not Old Fake News Images?
Of course, fake news images are nothing new. They’ve cropped up (if you’ll pardon the pun) in one shape or another for years. Or rather, since the rise in popularity of social photography. Along with the onset of more media outlets which seem to solely exist for clickbait purposes. The type which brazenly exclaim; ‘Can You Believe That So-and-so (insert your own vacuous celebrity name HERE) Has Done Such-and-Such (insert wholly unbelievable claim HERE)?!’
To capture your attentions/hoodwink you into clicking on the breaking ‘news’ story.
The phenomena – if you want to refer to it as that – has been driven both by the preponderance of images available online. Together with the ease with which said fake news images can be manipulated by devious types with access to Photoshop. Although access alone doesn’t lead to proficiency. Or even entry-level understanding of the basic elements according to some of the more blatantly awful examples of fake news images doing the rounds.
The problem is it’s all too easy to plant the seeds of outright lies in the minds of the often easily fooled. At least, compared to how it was in a pre-internet/Photoshop landscape.
Cast your mind back to the 1950s, and the nefariously-intent fake imagery merchants had only scissors, paste and patience to fall back on to create fictitious collages in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting.
Indeed, one such famous fake news image of the day depicted a certain US Senator, Millard Tydings. Whose very likeness was awkwardly superimposed next to the American Communist Party’s, Earl Browder. Much to his consternation thereafter.
You’ve Been Framed!
Maintaining a US politician vibe, who recalls the subsequent furore when Photoshop helped John Kerry ‘appear’ (for all intents and digital photo editing purposes) to be attending an anti-Vietnam War Rally with Jane Fonda? Admittedly not that many. Or more recently, the sitting President, Trump’s parents dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb?? Yup, with Photoshop the protagonist once more.
But of course, it’s not like Photoshop has gone all rogue of its own accord.
Behind all good/bad fake news images created by the planet’s go-to software package legitimately favoured by photo retouching services the world over, it’s a given that there’s a devious individual (or clandestine operation) at work behind the (photo-manipulated) scenes.
Impromptu Coronavirus Fake News Images Quiz
Truth is, many of us tend to get caught out by fake news images. Although we’re always too embarassed to concede that we’ve so easily sucumbed to such dubious means of blatant clickbait. But in our defence(s), some of the fake news images are less obvious than others. So we can be excused for being caught off guard. Some of the most trained eyes in the business might be hard-pressed to differentiate between what’s visually believable and what turns out to be the visual equivalent of the telling of porkies.
So, and without further ado, welcome to DT’s innaugral ‘Spot the Fake News Images Pic Just-for-fun During Lockdown Competition’. Where DT invites YOU to play along at home by trying to determine just which Coronavirus fake news images are real.
And which aren’t.
As in, which are fake. And which are genuine. The answers are at the bottom of the blog but please; no scrolling down. Remember, you’re only cheating yourself.
IMAGE 1 – Tango’d Trump
Right. We’ll start you with an easy one involving man of the moment. The Supreme Leader of the Tango’d Republic of The US of A himself; President Trump. Who appears to have overdone the old fake tanning products. At least, if this particular snapshot is to be believed. Your thoughts on this?
IMAGE 2 – (Lockdown) Life’s a Beach….
Remaining on an American fake news images theme, and we turn our attentions to establishing the truth about the Jacksonville beach furore. Which purported to show the flouting of Covid-19 rules with regards to social distancing during the current global pandemic. Pictures of beach-goers flagrantly disregarding the measures put into place by the US government to try and limit the spread of the disease were widely circulated in recent weeks. But is this another case of fake news images being cynically peddled right now. Or the real deal? We’ll let you decide….
IMAGE 3 – Rower in Social Distancing Row
Here’s an interesting one found a little closer to familiar shores. The curious case of a former Olympic rower (and reluctant BBC Strictly Come Dancing competitor), James Cracknell visiting his parent’s home during imposed lockdown. Question is this. Are we glancing at fake news images or not? We’ll let you decide.
IMAGE 4 – Pulling 5Gs
This is a still from a video claiming to show angry Chinese citizens tearing down a 5G mobile antenna. Which was distributed on social media (including the account belonging to Hollywood’s Woody Harrelson) and generated thousands of views. This image has got to be real, no?
IMAGE 5 – Bottoms Up
When the leader of a country tells you something that might sound preposterous to you normally yet kinda sounds vaguely viable during these strange times, you could be tempted to believe it. Unless that leader’s name begins with ‘Donald’ and ends in ‘Trump’. However a herbal-based miracle ‘cure’ presented in a bottle? As championed by Madagascar’s man-at-the-top? That’s probably all that it’s cracked up to be. Isn’t it?
IMAGE 6 – Art Imitating Life
This particular – and somewhat distasteful – image did the rounds of WhatsApp recently. Inferring that the photo depicts the bodies of coronavirus victims who had sucumbed to the disease on the streets of Italy. Yet in reality it could just as likely be a case of deliberate fake news images attempting to stir up mass hysteria. Your thoughts on this far more serious picture?
IMAGE 7 – Reality Down the Swanney
And finally – returning to a less sombre image – are we to believe that nature is reclaiming its rightful territories during lockdown or not? I mean, it sounds wholly plausible. Not least because grass is growing back through the cobbles on our street and Welsh towns are being overrun by inquisitive goats and sheep running amok. But swans and dolphins taking to the canals of Venice? Really? Is this actually a thing?
Image 1 – FAKE!
Yup, even the dark overlord himself isn’t THAT heavy-handed with the fake tanning products. So the epitome of fakeness in this rare, collector’s edition instance, is the ‘enhanced’ photo itself.
Image 2 – REAL!
Sadly people on this particular American beach resort weren’t following Coronavirus-triggered social distancing protocols. And freely mingling with each other when they really oughta not have been. Therefore a lesser-spotted item of non-fake news imagery.
Image 3 – FAKE!
Photos of James Cracknell mindfully social distancing himself in the garden were cynically doctored by past-masters of deceit, The Daily Mail. So as to paint the former Olympic rowing gold medallist as flouting the current rules surrounding social distancing and shielding of the more vulnerable members of society.
Image 4 – FAKE!
The image is genuine as such, however the story not so. This old picture actually shows protesters in Hong Kong in August 2019. Who were attempting to remove what was reported to be a ‘smart lamppost’ equipped to collect data. More piffle and poppycock, basically, to allude to something else entirely and perpetuate a sense of social unrest.
Image 5 – FAKE!
The herbal tonic given the offical presidential nod of approval by Madagascar’s Andry Rajoelina turned out to be a bit of a bum-steer, so to speak. This so-called ‘preventative remedy’ (as claimed by said president) is a herbal tonic sold under the name, Covid-Organics. Derived from artemisia – a plant which contains an ingredient used to treat malaria – tests implied the bottled drink had cured two people living on the island nation. However no peer-reviewed research or actual evidence existed to authenticate this claim.
Image 6 – FAKE!
In the event, a blatant fake news image aimed to scaremonger. Reality being that this image was lifted from a contemporary art project which took place in Germany in 2014. Which involved participants taking part in a real-time art installation requiring them to lie down in a pedestrian zone in Frankfurt. this was in rememberance of the 528 victims of the Katzbach Nazi concentration camp atrocities.
Image 7 -FAKE!
More codswallop engineered to fool those of us who wanted to believe that the animal kingdom are making the planet their own once more. The truth is the swans are regular visitors to the canals of Burano. A small island in the Greater Venice metropolitan area, where the photos were actually taken. ‘Venetian’ dolphins – also captured on social media around the same time – were filmed at a port in Sardinia hundreds of miles away.