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How To Know if a Photo Is Fake

Fake news can portray, in addition to made-up information, fake photos, and videos. It is important to check any suspicious videos or images you receive, and for this, some tricks can help identify whether a photo is real or fake. Programs, applications, and even Google itself can be used to check this information. Read ahead to find the best tools to identify if a video or photo is real or fake.

Look for Editing Errors in the Photos

No matter how good a photo-editing professional is, there is almost always an error that can let us know if the photo has been digitally manipulated when tinkering with the photo.

That is why it is worthwhile to make a detailed evaluation of some areas to find red flags that sometimes can be easy to spot. These can be any of the following:

  • Crooked backgrounds
  • Uneven borders
  • Colors that don’t match
  • Different sizes in the photo
  • Missing details
  • Crooked Angles
  • Thin limbs or excessively long necks, legs, and arms
  • Strange light sources between people and objects

Famous people are even constant victims of these flaws in bad Photoshop edits.

Search for the Image on Google

Did you know that you can find the origin of an image by right-clicking on a suspicious photo? When you do this and select the Search Engine Google Image option, it searches all websites and media outlets that have posted the content and whether an unedited version exists.

To search for an image on Google from your computer, go to the Google Images home page, click on a camera icon (Search for image) and paste the URL of the photo (Paste image URL). You can also upload the image if it is saved (Upload an image) and wait for it to upload.

See our dedicated guide on how to reverse image search with Google.

Search for Photo Information

The Exif data of a photo is the content information. It contains the brand of the camera used, technical information (shutter speed, aperture), ISO sensitivity, or focus setting. The data also record the date and time of the photo and the geographic coordinates if the camera has built-in GPS.

To access this metadata to spot fake images, you can use Jeffrey's Image Metadata Viewer or Metapicz, which has a more user-friendly interface for fact-checking. The data can be viewed after uploading the digital image or entering the URL. However, be aware that not all images have this information, especially if they have been registered in another way.

Corroborate the Location and Date of the Photo

Some images contain scenery and can give clues as to when and where they were taken. Based on this information, you can compare events and verify that the image was indeed taken at that place and on that day. Look for advertisements, buildings, signs, or analyze the landscape of the location to see where the photo was taken.

Then search for that same location on Google Maps or Google Street View, for example.

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