We've been debunking fake photos at Gizmodo since 2013, but in the year 2017, the fakes seem to be spreading online faster than ever. Here are just a few of the images we've seen swirling around the internet lately. And none of them are what they appear to be at first glance.
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Last week, the McDonald's Twitter account got into a bit of trouble when it sent a tweet to President Trump calling him a "disgusting excuse for a president". We still don't know what happened (McDonald's said its account was "compromised") but Fortune magazine noted that it wasn't the first time that McDonald's had been aggressive against a sitting president.
I've been getting a lot of tweets and emails from neo-Nazis and neo-fascists lately. To be fair, I said that Nazis and fascists were bad, so I was kind of asking for it. But the thing that I've found most interesting amongst the mountains of hate are all the fake quotes that racists send me, purportedly by famous historical figures. Especially Winston Churchill.
Carrie Fisher was a brilliant writer, an amazing actress and, by most accounts, just a good human being. She passed away yesterday and I, like many people, took to social media to mourn the loss of this incredible pop culture icon. But I unknowingly helped spread a meme that turns out to be fake. Did you see that script with handwritten edits for The Empire Strikes Back? Those edits weren't made by Carrie Fisher.
We live in an age of fakes. But it seems that all those fake stories and photos that we see swirling around the internet are somehow getting even worse. Did you hear about the guy who brought a gun to a DC pizza shop because of a conspiracy theory he read online? Yes, the internet's fakes bleed into the "real world" all the time. Here are just a few of the fake photos you may have seen circulating recently.
This photo of Fidel Castro holding a baby went viral back in 2015, when Justin Trudeau was first elected the Prime Minister of Canada. Numerous websites claimed that the baby was Justin Trudeau. And now that Castro has died, we're seeing the photo spreading far and wide yet again. But that's not Justin Trudeau. It's actually his late brother Michel.
On Friday, many news sources reported that RCN Boston mistakenly broadcast a half hour of hardcore pornography during the night on CNN. If we look a little deeper, we can see this may not be true. The International Business Times first reported the story based on a series of tweets from one account that is now private. Mashable also wrote up the story, using a tweet from someone else, although it appears to be a screenshot taken from the original poster. (We’ve reached out to ask.)
Have you seen this photo of White House staffers looking depressed today? It was supposedly taken today, when Obama welcomed Donald Trump to the White House for a visit. But it's not -- the photo is from yesterday when President Obama made an upbeat announcement about Donald Trump's future presidency.
Yesterday, a story about the origins of a beautiful cake that read "Sorry I Tased You" went viral. It was debunked, but the truth remained elusive. Today, we bring you the real story behind the infamous cake.
Did you see that cake with the words "Sorry I tased you" scrawled on it? A cop in Florida tasered a woman, who's now suing. The cop allegedly apologised by baking the cake, featuring crudely drawn stick figures. The only problem with the photo that's being passed around? It's from a full year before the incident.