The year 2016 will probably go down in history as the year of the fakes. There were plenty of fake news articles, and even plenty of debate about the definition of the word “fake.” Here at Gizmodo did our best in 2016 to keep you informed of the latest images on social media that were actually fake.

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Just as we did in 2014 and 2015, we’ve compiled another round-up of this year’s fake viral photos. This year had everything from celebrity composites to bad science. And yes, plenty of politics. Too much politics, some would say.

So without further ado, we have the year 2016 in fake photos—69 fake photos to be exact.

1) Is this David Bowie with Lemmy from Motorhead?

When David Bowie and Lemmy from Motorhead died, we started to see an incredible amount of images floating around as tributes to these music icons. But the photo above is completely fake.

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According to Getty Images, the real photo of Lemmy is from June of 1972 and shows him with his “French girlfriend” at the time. It’s not clear who first created this fantastical photographic wonder, but our hats are off to them—it looks pretty legit.

Fake photo via Twitter


2) Is this a kangaroo tenderly cradling a dying friend?

When this photo was first published in the Australian press, people were touched. What an incredibly sad moment: A mother kangaroo is dying, but her loyal mate is raising her head so that she can see her joey one last time. But, um, how do I say this? The male kangaroo isn’t facilitating a loving moment so much as trying to make a little love himself. Which is to say that he’s trying to have disgusting marsupial intercourse with a dead or dying female.

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I reached out to Dr. Mark Eldridge, a research scientist at the Australia Museum Research Institute, to confirm that this is just a case of humans anthropomorphizing the behavior of animals. Eldridge explained:

It looks like a pretty straightforward case of ‘courtship’ behavior—but with a moribund or dead female.

The male appears to be trying to get the female onto her feet so he can mate. For reasons we are not sure of she is moribund or dead so is not responding.

The other evidence that he’s not so much giving her a hug? He’s got a raging kangaroo hard-on. No joke. It’s easier to see from other pictures of the encounter, which I’ll let you click through on your own if you really want to see them. But you can also just take my word for it. (Just take my word for it.)

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Misleading caption via PETA


3) Is this Marilyn Monroe and James Dean?

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean both led glamorous, incredibly short lives. Which is perhaps why they’re so often pasted together in photoshopped fabrications like this one.

The original photo of Marilyn was taken in March of 1955 on top of the Ambassador Hotel in New York. I haven’t been able to figure out precisely who took the original photo of Dean, but judging by the sweater Dean’s wearing I’m guessing it’s a behind the scenes shot from his 1955 film East of Eden.

Below we can see Dean wearing the same sweater in a screenshot from East of Eden, based on John Steinbeck’s 1952 book of the same name.

Fake photo via VeryOldPics


4) Is this guy giving away his Powerball winnings?

Whenever the Powerball jackpot gets big enough, social media becomes inundated with fakes. Sometimes it’s just liars claiming to have won the prize. But other times, it’s liars claiming to have won the prize who want to share some of it with you. As you can see from the Twitter screenshot above we have a case of the latter with one of this year’s Powerball wins.

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Multiple accounts have shared the image, with some claiming that with enough retweets or shares, they’ll give some of the winnings to random strangers. The only problem is that the ticket is a photoshopped fake.

The whole stunt is obviously a modern-day version of the chain letter, offering untold riches to people spreading bullshit information. There really is nothing new under the sun. Especially when it comes to lotto scams.

Fake image via Erik Bragg


5) Is this Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey hanging out?

Despite what social media accounts like HistoryInPics might claim, this photo of Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey standing side by side is totally fake.

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The original photo of Del Rey dates back to 2012 when she was attending a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert (hence the flannel look). The Winehouse photo is from March of 2011. Winehouse died just a few months later on July 23, 2011.

Not only is the Winehouse-Del Rey shot a composite photo, you can clearly tell that the original photo of Del Rey has been flipped horizontally. She’s wearing an AC/DC t-shirt that’s backwards, and not in some intentional too-cool-to-print-it-normal way. It’s backwards in the I-want-to-photoshop-them-looking-in-the-same-direction way.

Fake via HistoryInPics and HistoricalPics


6) Is this a quote from Alan Rickman?

People have taken to social media to memorialize Alan Rickman who died this year. But in the process, some people are passing around a debunked meme.

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When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.’ - Alan Rickman

Sadly for Harry Potter fans, Rickman never actually said this. As BuzzFeed points out, the quote seems to originate on Tumblr circa 2010. At that point it wasn’t attributed to Rickman and was rather just something said in earnest by a fan of the Harry Potter series of books.

The most awkward part of this meme? Rickman never actually read the books.

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Fake quote via HistoricalPics


7) Is this a frozen spider web?

No, this isn’t some gigantic frozen spider web. As Snopes points out, it’s actually an ice sculpture that was on display at the Helsinki Zoo in 2011. When the photo is spread across social media it’s usually cropped a bit tighter so that it’s hard to tell just how large the web (sorry, sculpture) really is.

Fake via TheMindBlowing


8) Is this a September 11th themed ad for Chipotle?

“Never Forget... How Big Our Burritos Are.” That’s the text from an alleged ad for Chipotle showing a tinfoil airplane crashing into two foil-wrapped burritos made to look like the World Trade Center. But, of course, it’s a fake.

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Chipotle took to Twitter to deny that they had anything to do with the ad. They also said that they’re trying to track down whoever made the image.

Which leads to an interesting question... Does Chipotle have its own Troll Police department? Perhaps an office somewhere of people click-clacking away, making sure that nobody makes jokes in poor taste at Chipotle’s expense?

If that’s the case, they must be pretty busy of late, what with all the E. Coli coursing through America’s favorite fast-casual vomit factory.

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Fake image via Imgur


9) Is this a selfie taken in Brazil?

No, this isn’t the “world’s greatest selfie” or whatever caption you may have seen on social media. It’s an admittedly well done fake. The original photo appears on Instagram, sans the “selfie” aspect of the photo. A Reddit user even made a gif to show how it was done.

Admittedly, it seems like a strangely banal photo to alter. But it just goes to show, even the most straightforward looking images on the internet might be lies.

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Fake via Earth Pics


10) Is this a real Yeti?

This year photos and video were posted on the popular Spanish website ForoCoches purporting to show a yeti at the Formigal ski resort. ForoCoches, designed much like Reddit, has a history with trolls and hoaxes, as every site dependent on user-submitted content does. And it looks like you can chalk up one more.

“This morning skiing in Formigal with friends we’ve come across this. What the hell is it?” a user going by the handle Kangaroo asked in Spanish. The user posted two photos and a video. The three second video of the “Yeti” has gone viral and despite being originally posted on a site called vid.me, it’s now on YouTube and slowed down multiple times to give the impression that it’s a much longer video.

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One damning bit of evidence that the images are fake? You can clearly see footprints in the snow, as one Spanish website points out. The photographer clearly stood with whoever’s dressed up in that costume and took various shots as he or she was meandering through the snow.

And I must say, as freaky as it might be to see a mythical creature brought to life and roaming through the woods, I’d probably be able to hold the video camera steady for longer than three seconds.

But do you want to hear the most convincing argument that this photo doesn’t depict a yeti? The yeti is a mythical creature and not found in real life. Rest assured, it’s not a yeti.

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Fake via ForoCoches


11) Is this the Himalayas from space?

No, this isn’t an actual photo of the Himalayas as seen from space. It’s actually a pretty old fake. As HoaxofFame and photo debunker PicPedant both point out, it’s a computer generated image from circa 2006. Gorgeous? Sure. But a bit less stunning when you realize that it looks artificial for a reason.

Fake via AstronomyGeeks


12) Is this a real ad for “asthma cigarettes”?

Amazingly, “asthma cigarettes” were a real thing. But sadly, this ad is a fake.

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A discussion on MetaFilter dissects the fonts used in the ad, which are clearly too modern. According to one user, the fonts used are ‘Manzanita’ and ‘Aristocrat’. As you can see in our mock-up on the right using Manzanita, it’s an easy-to-create photoshop job.

Asthma cigarettes were devised in the 19th century and didn’t contain nicotine. Instead, they contained certain herbs that were thought to open a person’s airways when experiencing an asthma attack.

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The other problem with the sign? Some words are spelled incorrectly, like “effectivly” rather than effectively and “canker sours” rather than canker sores. Canker Sours sound like the worst candy ever.

Fake via StephenFry; Fake fake fake by Andrew Liszewski


13) Is this an amazingly well timed photo of a plane?

Nikon recently announced that the winner of a photo competition was Chay Yu Wei. The perfectly timed photograph was almost too good to be true. And you know what we say about things that are too good to be true.

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PetaPixel reports that the photo was quickly discovered by other photographers to be a Photoshopped hoax. And not even a good one, as you can see from the photo below. They did little more than change the levels to reveal that the “perfect shot” was actually a perfect fraud.

The photographer insisted that the whole thing was a joke that was simply posted on Instagram and Nikon has since apologized.

Fake via Nikon; debunk via PetaPixel


14) Did the new president of Taiwan really say “I won’t buy the whole pig just for a sausage?”

The quote has gone viral on Instagram and Twitter. But the new president of Taiwan, 59-year-old Tsai Ing-wen never replied, “I won’t buy the whole pig just for a sausage” when asked about why she never married.

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The message is seen as one of female empowerment and independence here in the United States, but it wasn’t meant that way when the anonymous Chinese hoaxer created it. I contacted the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to try and confirm the quote. And as I suspected, it appears to be a fabrication by Chinese bloggers hoping to make the new president look silly.

“I can find no record of President-elect Tsai Ing-wen making this comment. It would appear to be a fake quote started by Chinese bloggers,” said Vincent Chao, Deputy Director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s International Affairs.

Fake quote via Instagram and Twitter


15) Is this a disgruntled Burger King employee stealing chicken nuggets?

They called him a hero. An “idol to the masses.” The 18-year-old Burger King employee John Correa was scoring one for the little guy when he tweeted out the photos above with the caption, “TODAY WAS MY LAST DAY WORKING AT BURGER KING SO I TOOK ALL OF THEIR NUGGETS, FUCK IT.”

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But it was all a hoax. Correa was reportedly just asked by his manager to take the nuggets to another nearby Burger King location that was running low.

“I just wanted to bring attention to how easily people are influenced by what they see on social media,” Correa reportedly told 96.5 Radio News in Florida. “My managers saw the post and they laughed.”

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Apparently everybody with a social media account these days thinks it’s their duty to prove just how gullible we all are by lying to us. Or at least that’s what they claim their motivation was after the fact. The bigger question might be why in the hell Correa was transporting the perishable food item in his private car and not, say, in a refrigerated vehicle.

Also, the seatbelt/hoverhand combo is kind of creeping me out. Don’t ruin nuggets for me, John. Don’t take that little bit of processed chicken joy away from me.

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Fake tweet via johnalexcorrea


16) Is this Megyn Kelly with a billionaire Saudi prince?

Have you seen this photo, retweeted by Mr. Donald Trump himself? It’s supposed to show Fox News host Megyn Kelly alongside a billionaire Saudi Prince. And it’s a complete fake.

The Saudi Prince featured in the fake photo, Al-Waleed, has since tweeted his displeasure with the lie. I know it’s hard to believe that the honorable Donald Trump would be flamboyantly spreading falsehoods. But in this case, he was doing just that. I’m sure future-President Trump won’t let that happen again.

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Fake via Donald Trump


17) Is this a polar bear washed up in Scotland?

No, that’s not a polar bear washed up on the beach in Scotland. It’s photo from an April Fool’s Day joke that’s almost six years old. It’s unclear why this 2010 hoax started circulating again this year. But the next time your Scottish aunt posts it on Facebook, delicately break it to her that this one isn’t real.

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Or something. I don’t have a Scottish aunt either. But you know what I mean.

Fake via Twitter


18) Is this a real photo of Lil Kim?

Nineties rap icon Lil Kim has become a target of ridicule in recent years over the plastic surgery that has dramatically changed her face. Over the past few weeks the photo on the left has been doing the rounds, seeming to show Lil Kim’s “enhanced” posterior. But it’s totally fake.

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Lil Kim tweeted out the photo alongside the real one. The authentic photo was taken by Getty photographer Gilbert Carrasquillo on December 12, 2015 in Philadelphia. It would appear that whoever the original photoshopper was just filled in the shadow behind her to make it appear like it’s part of her butt.

Lil Kim responded appropriately to the photoshoppers and the people who were spreading fake photos of her online:

Fake via Twitter



19) Is this a sniper killing six ISIS fighters in under 2 minutes?

Iranian state TV recently aired some amazing video of a sniper killing six ISIS fighters in under two minutes. He’s an impressive marksman. It’s just too bad that the video is fake. This “Hezbollah sniper” is actually just playing the video game Medal of Honor.

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According to the French news outlet France 24 the footage has been airing on TV in Iran and Saudi Arabia. It’s also being spread around the internet with headlines like, “Six Daesh combatants are killed in 2 minutes by a Hezbollah sniper.” Daesh, of course, is the name used by some countries for what is more commonly called ISIS, ISIL, or The Islamic State here in the United States.

One Iranian news agency even added a little color to their reporting, claiming that the sniper was using an Arash gun, which is manufactured in Iran. Given that it was video game footage produced by EA Games, this “gun” was probably manufactured of ones and zeroes in Los Angeles.

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The footage is practically identical to this gameplay footage someone posted to YouTube in 2012.

Still not convinced? Check out the icon that pops up in both videos at the bottom of the screen. It appears when you’ve successfully executed a headshot. It’s a bit warped in the footage being passed around as real, but that’s because someone was clearly filming a TV screen with their phone.

It’s great that Iran is doing their best to defeat our common enemy, ISIS. But they’re not going to be very successful in winning hearts and minds if they keep getting goofed on by pranksters passing around video game footage as real warfare.

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Fake gif by Andrew Liszewski


20) Is this a zebra on the loose in New York?

There’s a zebra on the loose in New York! Or at least that’s what Twitter wants you to believe. The image went viral after Buzzfeed retweeted it. But it’s a fake.

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Mens Journal writer Shawn McCreesh has since admitted that it was just a joke. And actress Mary Lynn Rajskub made the same joke with a different photo today. So it’s probably safe to assume that this is for some kind of TV or movie.



21) Is this President Obama pointing at a naked picture of Trump?

Earlier this year there was a photo currently swirling around the great big toilet bowl of social media that supposedly shows President Obama in Cuba. He’s pointing and smiling at an illustration of a naked Donald Trump. An illustration of Donald Trump sporting a micropenis, no less. But it’s completely fake.

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To make things even weirder, it’s a photoshop of a photoshop. The image on the bottom right featuring Beavis and Butthead was created by Vincent X Torres from the Guzu Gallery in Austin, Texas about a week ago. He originally posted it to his Facebook page, and that photo is also fake.

Two photos, both fake, of Obama pointing at Donald Trump and Beavis and Butthead illustrations.

It’s not clear who photoshopped the Trump version. But if you see it doing the rounds, please inform your friends, family, and online acquaintances that it’s a fake. This GIF of the most awkward hand-holding high-five in history between Obama and Raul Castro, however, is very real.


22) Is this a real photo of Earth from the Hubble telescope?

Have you seen this photo of Earth from the perspective of the Hubble telescope? Well, it’s 100 percent fake. It’s a stunning image, but it’s actually computer generated. And there’s still some confusion over who first created it.

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Snopes figures it’s from 2013 and done by an artist named Mike Kiev. But I suspect it’s much older, and perhaps not originally created by Kiev. You can find the image at the stock image site Shutterstock. That’s where similar images from the same unnamed source include many different variations of this image, including many with airplanes both large and small.

There are also many different variations with various cloud formations, none of which are present on Mike Kiev’s DeviantArt page.

Whether they’re the work of artist Mike Kiev or not, there’s one thing we know for sure: They’re completely fake.

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What does Earth actually look like from space? Here’s a 2011 photo from NASA showing the Pacific Ocean, reminding us just how much water covers our planet.

Stay skeptical, friends.


23) Is this a time traveler at a Mike Tyson fight in 1995?

Does this 1995 video of a Mike Tyson fight show a time traveler with a cameraphone? The simple answer is no. And the complex answer is also no. But it’s a perfect example of how the past can play tricks on us.

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With the benefit of hindsight we can get to truths that were harder to see in the moment. But we can also get tricked by our brain into thinking that we’re seeing something out of place.

As Snopes points out, the camera in the video could be “any one of a number of handheld cameras that were in fact widely available in 1995.” Snopes gives just a few examples such as the Casio QV-10A and the Logitech Fotoman which are seen below.

Photos of old cameras from the mid-90s (Snopes)

People today often think they see time travelers in old footage. Or even “proof” of technologies being older than we think. Take this mobile telephone from 1922, for example. People were quite confused when the film was posted online a few years ago. The title cards explained that it was a mobile telephone. But the terminology that people used for radio during the late 1910s and early 1920s often included the term wireless telephone. So it wasn’t a two-way telephone like we think of it today at all. It was a radio.

Title card from a 1922 film reel describing a “wireless phone” that’s actually just a radio (British Pathe)

We bring all kinds of biases when we look at old film, read old books, and listen to old music. We can’t help it; we live in the early 21st century and our brain fills in what it wants to see based on what we’re most familiar with.

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So no, that probably wasn’t a time traveler at this 1995 Tyson fight. But if time travel does become possible everyone knows that you should bring rock and roll back to the early 1950s and hoverboards back to the Wild West.


24) Is this photo on the left of Marilyn Monroe?

Marilyn Monroe died more than 50 years ago, but Americans are still as obsessed with her as ever. The photo on the left is often captioned as being of Marilyn Monroe. But take a closer look. It’s not Marilyn at all.

It’s amazing how often photos of Jayne Mansfield are passed off as Marilyn Monroe. Well, maybe not that amazing. Mansfield quite explicitly tried to mimic Monroe’s mannerisms and style. And she succeeded in some areas, landing roles in movies and doing plenty of photo shoots—though she would forever be known as “the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe.”


A photoshopped composite of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley

25) Is this Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley on a rooftop?

Why is Elvis Presley shirtless on a rooftop with Marilyn Monroe? I’m not sure, to be honest. All I know is that the photo is completely fake.


Two photos of model Elsa Sorensen

26) Is this Marilyn Monroe in the pool?

The image on the left gets passed around on Pinterest and Twitter as a photo of Marilyn. But no, that’s not Marilyn Monroe.

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Admittedly, it looks a bit like her, but it’s actually Elsa Sorensen. Sorensen was a Danish model and Playboy Playmate in 1956. She bears a striking resemblance to Monroe given the right angle, but it’s not Marilyn. Another photo of Sorensen where she’s facing the camera appears on the right.


27) Is this a Trump supporter after getting beat up?

Earlier this year protesters turned violent against Trump supporters at a rally in San Jose. And the conservative media have been posting photos of people injured in the clashes. Some photos, however, aren’t actually from the protests.

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The Twitter account Con_News posted the photo above claiming, “Here’s what happened to female Trump supporter when she met ‘peaceful’ and ‘tolerant’ liberals.” But it’s not from the protests at all.

The photo actually shows Samara Weaving, an Australian actress from the series Ash vs Evil Dead. The “blood” is makeup, photos of which she posted to her Instagram back in January. Politics in America has certainly become violent (as it often does throughout history), but we have yet to see the Evil Dead plague infect the country.

Fake via Twitter


28) Is this the moon peering through the “Eyes of God” cave?

According to the Twitter account Life on Earth, this photo shows the “Eyes of God” from the Prohodna Cave in Bulgaria. The only problem is that the moon is 100 percent photoshopped.

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The cave is real, and you can find plenty of photos and videos of it online. But you’ll also find this completely fake image while you’re searching for it.

This particular image, which shows the cave’s distinctive rock formations—which look like two large eyes and even a nose—is everywhere on the internet with headlines like, “20 Incredible Unedited Pictures That Border on Fantasy.” But this photo is the furthest thing from unedited. So, yes, it’s fantasy.

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Fake via Planetepics


29) Is this a fugitive caught at the US-Mexico border?

As photo debunker Hoaxeye points out, the photo was a re-enactment of a fugitive fleeing the US which was staged for photographers. As the photo caption at National Geographic explains, the photo was originally taken by Luis Marden circa 1939 in El Paso, Texas, though it’s not clear why the colors on this version appear more rich than the colors in the National Geographic archive, which appear washed out. It’s entirely possible that the photo has been both colorized (color film was rare in 1939) and tampered with by a number of different people since then.

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Fake via Weird History


30) Is this a 1960s ad for the birth control pill?

No, that ad on the left isn’t real. If the bizarre font didn’t give it away, the straight-up awkward looking doctor should have. On the right we see the original magazine ad featuring Annette Funicello. The ad, as you can clearly see, is for Coppertone sunscreen.

Fake image via Twitter


31) Is this a vintage photo of a burlesque dancer?

No, that’s not a photo of a burlesque dancer, as so many people on Twitter would have you believe. Oldpicsarchive, which is arguably one of the worst OMGHISTORY Twitter accounts out there, has cropped the photo more tightly to give people less context.

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When you see the photo of the burlesque dancer below, you can clearly tell that it’s a much more modern photo. In fact, the photo is from 2015 and was taken by Jocelen Janon.

Misleading caption via Twitter


32) This this Trump supporters imploring people to Make America White Again?

Sure, Donald Trump is arguably the most racist major presidential candidate that the United States has seen in half a century. But this photo of his supporters, supposedly making the phrase “Make America White Again,” is completely fake.

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The original photo appears below, where you can see the original “Make America Great Again,” fans. Trump is a certified racist, and many of his supporters may very well be too. But that doesn’t mean that you should be spreading fake photos around.

Fake photo via Twitter


33) Is this Eddie Murphy eating steak off the back of a naked woman?

Sometimes a photo comes along that’s so dumb that I wonder if it’s worth debunking. But time and again I’ve learned that there’s nothing too dumb for people to pass around as real. Take, for instance, this photo on the left. It’s allegedly actor Eddie Murphy eating steak off a model’s back. But it’s obviously not Eddie Murphy. And frankly I’m not even sure it’s a steak.

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As viral photo sleuth HoaxEye points out, the oldest publication of this photo online appears to be on a French website in 2007. And you can tell from the larger version of the photo that it’s definitely not Eddie Murphy. I mean, you can tell from a thumbnail as well, but c’mon people. Some of this stuff getting passed around is embarrassing.

Also, I’m not here to judge, but eating food off of women seems a bit undignified for all involved. Grab her a chair and a robe, buddy—whoever you are. And see if she’d like some fries.

Fake photo via Twitter


34) Is this a baby moose with a pride flag?

Have you seen that photo of a baby moose holding a gay pride flag? It’s adorable. But unfortunately, it’s also fake. Why is the internet so mean?

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The photo below has been doing the rounds lately with an astonishing number of retweets on Twitter. And probably an untold number of whatever the Canadian equivalent of a retweet is. I’m going to guess the Canadian word for retweet sounds like 10 percent more French and is paid for by the government. But I digress.

If you compare the flag photo to this other photo of a baby moose on Imgur, you can clearly see that the pride flag has been photoshopped in:

And here’s a closer look:

Craig Silverman over at Buzzfeed Canada spotted the fake and was the first to debunk it. Before Silverman became the editor of Buzzfeed Canada he was best known as the founder of Poynter’s Regret the Error blog, where he tracked mistakes in media. Silverman even talked with me once about Gizmodo’s debunking of viral photos. And he clearly hasn’t forgotten his debunking roots.

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Silverman, in true Canadian fashion, is apologetic about bursting everyone’s bubble. But the truth has to be told. Or not. You could’ve let us live with the lie. Thanks, Silverman. Ya big jerk.


35) Is this an adorable bunny?

Have you seen this absolutely adorable bunny on Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook recently? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s completely fake. It’s a 100 percent bunny forgery.

The bunny appears to have been made by a Chinese crafter on Weibo called Soft Mochi. The Weibo user has plenty of other adorable felt-based crafting projects posted.

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Like panda in an ice cream cone...

And bunnies in dresses...

And... cow heads...

Due to some language translation issues I’m not even completely sure that Soft Mochi is the one who originally created these cute figures. But given the similarity of the hand in every shot, it’s safe to say at the very least that the bunny is fake, even if Soft Mochi didn’t originally take the photos.

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It becomes especially clear when you see all four bunny photos all perfectly lined up...

Sorry, friends.


36) Is this paper airplane between two fans showing “science”?

SpacePorn, SciencePorn, HistoryPorn.... If you see “porn” at the end of a Twitter name and the account isn’t filled with photos of gratuitous sex acts, run the other way. It probably means that the account is garbage.

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Such is the case with SciencePorn, a Twitter account with over 1.8 million followers. They recently tweeted the gif above with a just single word: Science. Well, we know other words we could use for it. Like “fake.”

SciencePorn’s gif shows a paper airplane hovering between two fans. The stunt is from an April Fools’ Day video by a group on YouTube. How does the airplane stay afloat? It’s not the two fans, we know that for sure. It turns out there’s a fishing line holding the paper paper airplane up.

The group behind the hoax even explain as much in a video they released after April Fools’ Day. And this was from 2011, so I’m not sure how SciencePorn could’ve been misled five years after the fact.

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Either way, it’s totally fake. And not porn. Nor science. So the way I see it we were lied to twice. Unless you find science illiteracy erotic.

Fake via SciencePorn


37) Is this David Bowie and Iggy Pop?

The photo on the left often does the rounds whenever people want to celebrate the late, great David Bowie. But as you can see from the original photo on the right, it’s a total fake.

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The photo of Bowie’s head appears to be from the photoshoot for his 1977 album “Heroes.” The photo has been flipped horizontally (you can see the original cover here), and obviously his arm has been removed.

The original photo of Iggy Pop, as you can see below, appears to be from a photoshoot from around 1969, almost an entire decade before the Bowie photo was taken.

As for the bodies? Well, those actually belong to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Not exactly counterculture icons. The original photo of Martin and Lewis was taken by American photographer Philippe Halsman, who was known for his shots of famous people jumping in the air.

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Halsman even got people like Richard Nixon (left) and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (right) to hop around like bunnies for his photo series.

It’s not clear who first plastered Bowie and Iggy Pop’s faces on Halsman’s photo. All we know is that it’s been accepted as a real photo for years.

Fake photo via OldPicsArchive and Vintage Everyday


38) Is this a Hillary Clinton supporter stomping on the American flag?

No, that woman standing on the American flag isn’t holding a “Hillary for President 2016" flag. If you can’t tell simply by looking at it, the photo has been doctored. The original photo is on the right.

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As legendary debunking website Snopes points out, the photo shows Latausha Nedd, an activist who’s actually holding a Pan-African flag. The Hillary version of the photo has shown up on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in recent weeks, mostly in conservative circles. Wisconsin-based talk show host Vicki Mckenna recently tweeted the fake photo, where it gathered a lot of steam on Twitter.

The fact that the pro-Hillary version of the photo is so obviously fake didn’t stop politicians like Wisconsin Representative Robin Vos from tweeting out the image. Vos said that it was a “sad commentary on the Democrats as they stomp on our flag.”

Sad commentary, indeed.

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Fake via Twitter


39) Is this The Simpsons predicting Pokémon Go?

When you look back at the decades of Simpsons episodes (the show’s been on the air since 1989) it really does seen like they’ve predicted everything. But the screenshot above is completely fake.

The image has been doing the rounds lately, with people on sites like Reddit claiming that The Simpsons predicted Pokémon Go. But the original screenshot comes from season 14 during an episode called “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation.” It’s a complete photoshop job.

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As you can see below, the original scene from the episode has Homer pointing at an empty corner with no Pokémon Go anywhere to be seen.

Fake image via Twitter


40) Is this how MGM gets those shots of the lion roaring?

Earlier this month Carrie Fischer tweeted out this photo which appears to show how MGM gets those shots of the lion roaring. You know what I’m talking about. That MGM lion that growls at you before the movie starts...

That’s not how it’s done, of course. But plenty of people thought it was true. In reality, the photo shows a lion getting a CAT scan. According to Business Insider, that’s Samson the lion at Israel’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine. Samson had stopped being able to walk and was treated for neurological problems.

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He made a full recovery, but this is what the poor guy looked like on the other side of that CAT scan machine:

Fake photo via Twitter


41) Is this the “beautiful Earth from the Moon”?

As photo debunker HoaxEye first pointed out, this image is completely computer generated. The image was created by Vincent Todarello of Vintod Photo, and while it’s pretty damn cool, it’s not a real photo taken from the perspective of the moon.

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Fake photo by CosmosIsAmazing


42) Is this the lead singer of the band Rammstein wearing a Putin t-shirt?

No, the lead singer of the German band Rammstein isn’t a fan of Vladimir Putin. But we can understand how you might think differently if you were reading Sputnik, a news outlet funded by the Kremlin. They recently published a photo showing Till Lindemann giving a big thumbs up while wearing a Putin t-shirt.

While Sputnik is a propaganda arm of the Russian government, they weren’t the ones who originally photoshopped the image. That was apparently done by a PR company called Caviar who makes custom high-end design modifications for iPhones in Russia. According to the Russian website Lenta, Caviar has apologized for the Photoshop job.

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Fake via Bild


43) Was this a real Heineken beer ad?

Did people really feed their babies beer back in the “good old days?” Well, maybe. If you were a weirdo, irresponsible parent. But that ad on the left supposedly showing ad is fake.

The ad on the left was obviously photoshopped as a joke, but the notoriously bad Twitter account OldPicsArchive is passing it off as real.

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“This is an actual old school Heineken advertisement,” the Twitter account claims. Except that it’s not. It’s an old school 7-Up ad, as you can see from the authentic magazine advertisement on the right. And while people are currently horrified that 7-Up used to advertise their product as being safe for consumption by children, Heineken never advertised beer to toddlers.

Fake ad via OldPicsArchive


44) Is this John Lennon and Yoko Ono?

No, John Lennon and Yoko Ono never held up a sign that read, “Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” The photo on the left is fake. The photo on the right, of course, is the real one.

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Many people have used this iconic anti-war image over the years for their own purposes. Many have photoshopped it for humorous effect, while others have co-opted it for their own political needs, as you can see in just two examples I found online below.

But it’s pretty clear that the people behind the Twitter account OldPicsArchive are idiots and probably have no idea that they posted a fake image.

Fake photo via OldPicsArchive


45) Is this “a battered moon”?

That’s the sun. It’s not the moon, battered or otherwise. It’s the sun. The sun. Got it? The sun.

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We all up to speed? Moving on.

Inaccurate description via StarGazers


46) Is this Freddie Mercury putting on makeup?

Yes, Freddie Mercury was applying makeup in this photo. But the photo on the left is obviously fake. That doesn’t stop people on Twitter from passing it around like it’s real, obviously. Especially the Twitter account OldPicsArchive. They really need to hire a fact-checker or something.

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Fake photo via OldPicsArchive


47) Is this Frida Kahlo holding a gun?

Frida Kahlo, the famed 20th century Mexican painter, was a badass. But this photo of her is completely fake. It’s a composite that was made by artist Robert Toren in 2012 using a model, as you can see by the original photo on the right.

Fake via OldPicsArchive


48) Is this an ad for Supergirl?

Do you notice anything weird about this ad for the new season of Supergirl that’s coming out in October on the CW network? Look closer...

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Yeah, that’s unfortunate. Too bad the dozens of people at CW didn’t catch that, right? Well, as Buzzfeed points out, the ad is completely fake.

The original ad simply reads “Superman is coming to Supergirl,” not “Superman is coming in Supergirl.”

The creator of the original ad appears to have taken the alterations quite personally: “I’m sorry, I just can’t stay here,” the creator tweeted. “Thank you all for the lovely messages and a big fuck you to who edit the poster and those spreading it

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“I don’t have stomach for this... it’s too much. Sorry to Hoechlin, Melissa & CW, I never wanted this to happen. I’ll be back when it dies,” the creator continued in another tweet.

Given the lifespan of Thing on the Internet™, it’s tough to say when things “die.” In a sense, the altered version of the poster will probably live on forever. But in another way, the altered version will probably be yesterday’s news by midnight.

Either way, if you see this one online, let people know that it’s too good to be true.


49) Is this a hawk flying with a snake it captured?

Have you seen this video of a hawk crashing a picnic in Australia? The bird picks up a snake and tosses it at some people minding their own business. The poor folks then run off in horror. The video has gone viral, with nearly 1 million views in the past day. But it’s totally fake.

How do we know this video is fake? There are a few really strong clues.

A) “Oh, there’s a hawk...”

The video is suspicious from its opening seconds. The person taking the footage opens with a shot of the food, which itself looks very stage-managed. The cameraman then immediately points his camera up to the sky and proclaims in an awkward tone, “Oh, there’s a hawk....” What happened to the food? Tell us the story of the food! I want to learn more about those two sausages on the plate? What’s their story!?!?!

B) The pointing

Typically when everyone is looking at the same thing, you don’t have to point to draw everyone’s attention to it. Maybe this guy just points as a natural reaction to seeing something in the sky, but if you were planning on making a fake video of a computer-generated bird flying around, pointing in the sky is basically mandatory—even if it’s not what people naturally do. If we had better angles on the people I’m sure they’d be pointing at the computer-generated snake at the end as well.

C) No reflection in the water

And perhaps the strongest evidence that this video is fake as the day is long? There’s no reflection of the bird in the water. Watch the video again. Or check out the gif below. Nothing. No reflection. Could it be a vampire bird? That’s certainly a possibility. And I assure you that Gizmodo is working night and day to look into that possibility. But for the time being we’re going to have to declare this video fake.

GIF capture of the fake viral video, clearly showing no reflection in the water (YouTube)

The Australian Hawthorn Hawks football team announced that the video was all a viral marketing stunt. Get it? Hawks. Get it?

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From the Hawks website:

HAWTHORN have launched their 2016 finals campaign, Embrace the hunt, with the release of an innovative viral video.

The video which features a hawk dropping a snake onto a family picnicking along the Yarra River was originally posted to YouTube on Tuesday morning under the alias of ‘Douglas Wong.’

Hawthorn’s media team partnered with Melbourne production company, The Woolshed, in an attempt to create a video that would encapsulate the club’s finals theme and generate widespread media coverage.

Embrace the Hunt launched on Wednesday afternoon as the Hawks begin their quest for a fourth straight premiership.

“It was quite incredible,” said a Hawthorn spokesperson.

“We wanted everyone to know that it’s September and the Hawks are on the attack and hopefully we’ve succeeded.

“Our aim was to create a real buzz around the launch of our seventh consecutive finals campaign and really get people talking.

“The debate over its authenticity has been had by various media outlets across both Australia and the globe.

“Hopefully we haven’t scared too many people off a BBQ by the Yarra.”

In a cheeky move a Geelong Cats sticker featured on the esky of the unsuspecting family in a pointer to next Friday night’s Qualifying final between Hawthorn and Geelong.

The fake video generated over 5 million views in 48-hours and has been published by multiple media outlets around the world.

So there you go, I guess. I still say it could be a vampire bird.


50) Is this a “shark on the streets in Daytona Beach”?

Every time a natural disaster hits, we see plenty of fake photos on social media. And when Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, there were lots of fake images doing the rounds. The short version: If you see a photo of sharks in the streets, it’s probably fake.

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Nope, this isn’t a shark on the streets of Daytona Beach. It’s a fake that has gone viral dozens of times—including during Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and just your run-of-the-mill flooding in virtually every corner of the globe.

As Snopes pointed out in an article from 2015, the original photo of the shark actually comes from a 2005 magazine spread. It’s hard to believe that the photo with the kayaker from 2005 is even real, but we know two things for certain: It’s a photoshop job, and it’s not from Hurricane Matthew.


51) Is this the Daytona International Speedway currently flooding?

Wrong again. According to the folks over at Auto Week, the photo that’s doing the rounds is actually from 2009. Yes, the Daytona Speedway really did experience massive flooding seven years ago, but this photo isn’t from Hurricane Matthew.


52) Is this a shark taking advantage of Hurricane Matthew to invade the streets of Jacksonville, Florida?

No. It’s another fake that we’ve seen pop up time and again whenever flooding occurs anywhere in the country. As just one example, this guy claims that a fellow church member found a shark in his front yard. Except that they didn’t.

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And here’s another one from Twitter of the same photo:

My friend just sent me this pic from #Jacksonville #FL #HurricaneMatthew storm surge, rising waters & SHARKS! stay safe everyone! @KSL5TV

Either your friend is messing with you, or you’re a liar. As The Atlantic pointed out years ago while debunking fakes from Hurricane Sandy, the original shark photo is from 2006 and can be found on Flickr.

Sadly, that doesn’t stop news outlets from taking the bait.

News employees asking to use a fake photo of a shark purporting to be from Hurricane Matthew (Screenshot on Twitter)

Thankfully we haven’t seen these social media hoaxes make it to mainstream news sites yet, but it’s only a matter of time. If you see any other fabricated photos from Hurricane Matthew floating around, let us know. Natural disasters really tend to bring out the fakes.

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Update, 5:50pm: A local CBS TV station in Atlanta reported on one of the “front yard shark” photos as though it were real.


A photoshopped image of Barack Obama reading the book Where the Wild Things Are (Twitter)

53) Is this President Obama telling a spooky story while hiding in his shirt?

Have you seen this photo of President Obama telling a scary story with his head inside his shirt? It’s currently doing the rounds on social media as “the single greatest photo of any president” ever. But it’s totally fake.

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The original photo is from April of 2012 when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama read the book Where the Wild Things Are to a group of kids at the White House Easter Egg Roll. And as you can see from the original photo, Obama’s head isn’t turtle-ing, for lack of a better term.

Michelle and Barack Obama reading a story at the White House during the Easter Egg Roll in April 2012 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The President and First Lady were clearly getting into telling the story though, as you can see from the other photos that day.

Michelle and Barack Obama reading a story at the White House during the Easter Egg Roll in April 2012 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Reading the classic children’s book has become a bit of a tradition at the Obama White House, with the First Family doing the same thing this past Easter.

Michelle and Barack Obama reading a story at the White House during the Easter Egg Roll in April 2016 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

It’s not clear who made the photoshopped image, but it appears to be at least four years old. All we know for sure is that the version of Obama with his head in his shirt is completely fake.

Side by side comparison of the photoshopped image and the original 2012 photo of Barack Obama

54) Is this a bear officiating a real wedding?

Did you see those photos of a bear officiating a wedding in Russia? Well, as cute as it was, the photo series is totally fake. As in, it’s probably not a real wedding, just a photo shoot. Buzzfeed tracked down the photographer and the people in the photo and laid out the facts.

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The evidence that it’s almost certainly just a photo shoot and not a real wedding?

  • The photographer, Olga Barantseva, has done a number of staged bear photos in the past.
  • The photographer insisted that Buzzfeed buy the photos before she would talk with Buzzfeed. And then still declined to comment.
  • The “bride” and “groom” aren’t even connected on social media. Or at least they weren’t until Buzzfeed started asking questions. And both don’t even mention the wedding on their accounts.
  • The owners of the tame bear, known as Stepan, wouldn’t talk with Buzzfeed.
  • The “bride” is listed as single on her Facebook page and doesn’t live anywhere near Moscow, the city where this wedding purportedly took place.

The photos fooled plenty of people though, including The Daily Mail, the New York Daily News, Yahoo News, and The Mirror, among a host of others. So it’s no wonder that Buzzfeed couldn’t get anyone to talk.

It’s all quite shocking, I know. If a bear didn’t officiate a wedding in Russia we don’t know what to believe anymore.

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[Buzzfeed]


55) Is this a photo from the fires in Tennessee?

The wildfires in Tennessee have devastated communities, scorching over 17,000 acres and leaving 14 dead so far. But this photo you may have seen doing the rounds isn’t from Tennessee. It’s actually from Montana. And it’s 16 years old.

There are a handful of photos that seem to circulate when natural disasters hit. When a hurricane strikes, you’ll often see those infamous photos of sharks in the streets. And when a fire hits, you’ll often see this photo pop up.

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The photo shows two deer in a river, protecting themselves from the oncoming flames. But it was taken in the year 2000 in Montana. Anyone who insists otherwise is spreading fakery.

Fake via Twitter


56) Is this an ironic photo from the College of Architecture and Planning?

Yes, this photo is hilarious. But it wasn’t a mistake. As Chris Helms explains in a YouTube video, the photo from Ball State is authentic. The sign was constructed as a joke when they built a skybridge connecting two buildings. But the sign was eventually torn down and isn’t something you can visit anymore. So what am I debunking? The “original” photos are actually the fake ones.

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Take a look at the photo below, which people pass around as the “real” photo. But it’s actually the fake one. You can’t even trust debunkers these days.

Fake via SciencePorn


57) Is this Stalin and North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung?

As photo debunker HoaxEye points out, the original photo shows Kim Il Sung and Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of China. It’s unclear if Stalin was added more recently or if this is a fake that predates Photoshop. Either seems plausible. But all we know for sure is that this is a phony.

Fake via OldPicsArchive


58) Is this a photo of Elvis and Bruce Lee?

We turn again to HoaxEye who notes the original photo doesn’t show Bruce Lee at all. The unaltered version on the right shows a man named Wayne Carman. This photo of Elvis, on the other hand, is completely real.

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Fake photo via OldPicsArchive


59) Is this secret footage of a giant in Japan?

No, this isn’t secret footage from the 19th century showing a race of giants that were living in Japan. Conspiracy theory sites have had a field day with the footage, claiming that it’s proof positive of giants. But, as the debunkers at Snopes point out, it’s actually from a 2007 movie called Big Man Japan.

Fake via Twitter


60) Is this Hillary Clinton looking extremely ill?

Throughout the election campaign, there were countless fake photos circulated online. And none were more popular than fake photos of Hillary Clinton. This photo, as just one example from the conspiracy theory site InfoWars, is totally fake.

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As Brendan Karet points out on Twitter, the photo of a haggard looking Clinton was manipulated by InfoWars, which then published the doctored photo. The real photo was published in the Wall Street Journal in 2015.

The real photo that was later manipulated by InfoWars (PHOTO: DENNIS VAN TINE/ZUMA PRESS)

Obviously InfoWars is a garbage site that traffics in ridiculous conspiracy theories—like the idea that the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012 that left 20 children and 6 adults dead was actually staged by the government. But sadly we can’t just laugh them off. The president-elect Donald Trump is a fan and has said that Alex Jones is “amazing.”

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“Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,” Trump told Alex Jones in December of 2015.

Fake photo via InfoWars


61) Is this a super moon rising over a FedEx plane?

Nope. Not even a little bit. It’s 100 percent fake. You can tell because if you open your eyes........... it looks fake as hell.


62) If you divide the Powerball evenly would everyone be a millionaire?

There’s a lottery meme on Facebook claiming that if we just divided the current Powerball jackpot evenly, every American would get $4.3 million. But that’s not right at all. Why? Simple math:

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When we take $1.3 billion and divide by 300 million we get $4.33. As in, four dollars and 33 cents. Not $4.33 million. So while it’s a nice dream that the lottery winnings would make every person in the country wealthy, it’s not even close to being true.

The Facebook post currently has 253,266 likes and 574,007 shares. And that’s not even counting the number of people who have just ripped the image and posted it to their Facebook page anew.

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In fact, the image that’s currently going viral looks as if it was altered to include a different handle, @Livesosa. There’s a ghostly image behind it that I can’t quite make out.

Whoever originally made the meme, it’s pretty unstoppable. Expect to see this one on your friends and family’s social media accounts this week, if you haven’t already.

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The meme even has its own counter-meme now:

Nevermind the fact that the population of the United States is actually closer to 319 million. Which means that if the Powerball jackpot were divided evenly amongst the entire population everyone would get about $4.09.

Math was never my strong suit. But I certainly know how to use a calculator. Or Google. There are literally millions of better ways to give away $1.3 billion than handing it over to one person. And maybe dividing it evenly would be smart. But you’re not going to get much more than enough for a cup of coffee.

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h/t Chris Scott on Twitter


63) Is this crab with a knife spoiling for a fight?

Did you see that video of a knife-wielding crab that went viral recently? Sadly, it’s a hoax. The Washington Post spoke with an expert, and the whole thing was definitely staged. The crab didn’t pick up the knife itself. In reality, the blade was almost certainly jammed into the crab’s claw, and the crab can’t let go.

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Jack Cover of the National Aquarium in Baltimore told the Washington Post that the crab is clearly distressed. “It’s a hoax,” he said, to put it bluntly.

“Purely from a biologist’s standpoint, I’m surprised the video is getting the attention it’s getting. To me, it’s sort of showing a little bit about our tendency to be very separate from nature,” Cover told the Washington Post. “A crab is not known for its large brain and it’s already got a pretty formidable weapon—that claw.”

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So we don’t have to worry about knife-wielding crabs just yet, unless of course you jam a knife in a crab’s claw. But what about box-wielding robots?

[Washington Post]


64) Is this Gandhi quote that Donald Trump posted real?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”? It’s often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, but he actually never said that. Someone should tell Donald Trump.

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On Monday, Donald Trump sent out a tweet and an Instagram photo with himself on stage and the fake Gandhi quote imposed underneath. Many people were outraged—indignant that Trump would invoke the words of such an iconic figure. But people should probably be a little more angry that this quote keeps getting passed around as Gandhi’s.

So who actually said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”? Some have traced early versions of this quote to an American labor organizer named Nicholas Klein. He was making a speech at a convention in 1918:

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First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

I realize that fact-checking Donald Trump is a pretty futile effort. But let’s at least fact check the people he’s quoting. Because as Donald Trump once said, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Or was that Mussolini?


65) Is this Uber driver really suing Uber after his murder spree?

The internet went into a tizzy this week when headlines proclaimed that the Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Michigan who’s accused of murdering six people was suing Uber for $10 million. But the lawsuit is a hoax.

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As MLive first reported, a handwritten lawsuit was indeed filed on Tuesday. But the killer, 45-year-old Jason Brian Dalton, didn’t have anything to do with it. The postmark on the envelope leads investigators to believe that the hoax letter was sent from Philadelphia.

“[Dalton] said he has no idea what it is,” Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas told MLive. “He said he didn’t send it, didn’t authorize it, doesn’t know who did.”

The hoax letter included accusations of unpaid wages and in hindsight would appear to be the work of someone intentionally trolling rather than the work of a mentally disturbed Dalton impersonator, though those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

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From the hoax lawsuit:

I worked years as a Uber contractor and they ripped me off, never paid me back wages or overtime. I busted my butt for them. They gave me no Christmas bonus, I wasn’t invited to any corporate parties, they made me work when I was sick and didn’t let me spend time with my 2 children.

Dalton is accused of killing six people and wounding two others in three different locations on the night of February 20th. Dalton picked up passengers throughout the spree and one of his last passengers even jokingly asked if he was the killer.

The real Dalton has told investigators that he was under the control of the Uber app and a horned devil figure appeared to him. A trial date has not been set for Dalton.


66) Is this viral quote from Harriet Tubman real?

Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill—which is awesome. So naturally, people on social media are celebrating with a famous Harriet Tubman quote: “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

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The only problem? Tubman never said that.

W. Caleb McDaniel from Rice University has a blog post about all of the different respectable places that this quote has shown up over the years. Everyone from a New York Times columnist to Senator Cory Booker has helped spread the fake quote. But there’s no evidence that Tubman ever said it.

Milton Sernett, author of the book Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History, traces the quote back to a 1970 essay on Tubman that likely pulled the quote from a fictionalized portrayal of Tubman’s life.

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Making up quotes and attributing them to Tubman is nothing new, as McDaniel points out. In fact, early abolitionists were concocting quotes and embellishing stories about her even during her lifetime:

As Jean Humez shows in her book, Harriet Tubman: The Life and the Life Stories, this began with the very first abolitionists, who were responsible both for recording the illiterate Tubman’s own narratives and for crafting the first biographies. Those biographies are invaluable points of access into Tubman’s life and thought. But, Tubman scholars now agree, they also contained a variety of embellishments that served abolitionists’ purposes. Over time some of those embellishments (like the idea that Tubman took 19 trips back to the South and freed 300 people) became settled facts in collective memory, enshrined in children’s books and other scholarly texts as Tubman’s actual story receded from view.

The internet is just a Xerox machine for fake quotes. We’ve debunked quite a few of them here at Factually, including quotes from Gandhi, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, among plenty of others.

Fake quotes spread so quickly on the internet that they’ve even become believable enough to appear on US postage, as was the case with Maya Angelou. But as with so many things online, this Harriet Tubman quote is fake. And in so many cases of fake quotes, the internet is directly to blame for helping them spread far and wide.


67) Did a person playing Pokemon Go cause this traffic accident?

Earlier this year there was a story doing the rounds about a man who had to catch them all. Pokemon, that is. According to websites like Techworm and Cartelpress, 26-year-old Lamar Hickson recently caused a massive car accident while playing Pokemon Go. The only problem? The story is totally fake.

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Yes, a lot of weird stuff has been happening lately with the release of Pokemon Go. People have been exploring the outdoors and accidentally getting exercise. They’ve even been getting robbed at gunpoint. But so far, nobody has caused a massive pileup on the freeway. So far, mind you.

This story of the fictional Lamar Hickson of Massachusetts was fabricated by Cartelpress, one of those fake news sites that only creates plausible-sounding news for clicks.

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Cartelpress claimed to speak with an officer named Fredrick Jones who reportedly said “Texting and driving was already a very serious issue, but now playing Pokemon Go and driving could make things worse.” We can’t emphasize enough that there’s obviously no Officer Jones.

As Snopes notes, the photo that the site uses comes from a real pile-up near Denver in 2014. Other Cartelpress headlines at the moment include “ISIS is Taking Responsibility For Pokemon Go’s Login Problems; Server Issues” and “Pokemon Go: Teen Kills Younger Brother Because He Thought He Deleted His Pokemon.” Not exactly Onion-level satire.

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With Pokemon-mania sweeping the country it really does seem like just a matter of time before a horrible car accident is blamed on someone playing Pokemon Go. But this story of Hickson on some unnamed highway in Massachusetts is bullshit.


68) Did Teddy Roosevelt really say this?

I saw a curious quote on Twitter recently that was attributed to none other than Theodore Roosevelt: “To anger a conservative lie to him, to anger a liberal tell him the truth.” The only problem with this quote? Roosevelt never said it.

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As best I can tell, the quote was manufactured sometime in the mid-2000s. It doesn’t show up in a single biography of Roosevelt, nor in any book with notable quotations. It’s not clear who first attached Roosevelt’s name to it, but it’s definitely a creation of the 21st century.

The thing about the term “liberal” is that in Roosevelt’s time, it really wouldn’t have been used like this anyway. Calling someone “a liberal” to mean progressive would probably have been met with blank stares of confusion at the turn of the 20th century.

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It’s not just Teddy Roosevelt who has his name attached to this one. Sometimes you’ll see modern conservative standard bearers like Rush Limbaugh with their pictures next to the gem.

But I’ve found no evidence that Limbaugh said it either.

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Whether you’re liberal or conservative, you shouldn’t get mad about anyone pointing out that this quote is fake. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Debunking fake quotes on the internet transcends politics.”

69) Is this National Geographic’s Photo of the Year?

No, that’s not National Geographic’s “Photo of the Year.” You may have seen this one being spread on Twitter and Facebook. But it’s a total lie.

As Gizmodo’s own Hudson Hongo pointed out a couple weeks ago, this is actually a computer-generated image, compiled by putting a bunch of stock photos together.

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Online hoaxers love to invoke National Geographic’s name because the iconic magazine has a history of getting truly unbelievable wildlife photos. Last year, an incredibly popular photo on social media purported to be a behind-the-scenes shot of National Geographic photographers running from a wild bear. That too, of course, was a fake.