I know that by now you have seen some disturbing images from Baltimore. There has been looting and rioting and misbehavior of many sorts after the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.
Most of us probably take the images we see at face value. Because we’re trained to believe our eyes. For generations, we got information from reputable sources and if the New York Times or CBS News or some other brand we trusted posted a photo like the one you see above, you had good reason to believe that it was from looting in Baltimore.
But the one you see above it not from Baltimore. Despite what “Da’Marious Trufton” would have you believe on Twitter, that photo is actually from the pillaging of a KFC in Karachi, Pakistan … in 2012. The Twitter guy apparently just found a photo he liked on the Web and made something up. It’s been retweeted a lot by people who took it as gospel.
I might have seen the tweet and believed it myself if not for a guy named Eoghan mac Suibhne. He’s a journalist for the online outfit Storyful and he used the tweet, and others of a similar vein, to remind us to verify photos before passing on this stuff as real news. Please remember this before retweeting things like the above photo in the heat of the moment. …
Luckily, as Suibhne points out, this is very simple. Simply use Google reverse image search.
You are undoubtedly familiar with Google Image Search. If not, go to Google and click the “image” tab. Your world is about to be rocked. What you may not have known is that you can drag any image into the search box and Google will search for that picture and others like it. Then you get a road map of where that image has been.
You’ll understand it if you try it.
There is another reverse image search engine called TinEye that I found a bit harder to get the hang of, but you might like it better. Both TinEye and Google offer browser plug-ins so that you will be ready to check out the provenance of images in a matter of seconds.
Unfortunately, you can’t believe everything you see with your own eyes. Don’t forget to check things out before you pass them along.