It's not uncommon for phony photos to make the rounds when major events and catastrophes take place. Those with an active Twitter feed, an Instagram account and/or Facebook may have seen examples of this floating around last night as people shared updates about Hurricane Sandy, the storm that tore its way up the East Coast last night. A number of storm photos have already been confirmed as fakes. Check some of them out ahead!
Given the news reports, which have revealed photos and video of the actual, substantial damage that this hurricane has done to some areas of the East Coast, including New Jersey, New York City and Long Island, it's hard to understand why people would feel the need to make their own fake images of the storm. Maybe it's the thrill of seeing the image go viral as people spread it around when they believe it's real. Regardless, in the era of social networking, these images seem to spread extremely quickly. If you're active online, there's a good chance you've seen one or two of these on one of your feeds. Snopes has already begun gathering and debunking the phony Hurricane Sandy photos. Whether they're photoshopped images or pictures taken at a different time that were circulated last night, here are some of the fakes Snopes shared.
Snopes says this one, along with another image that depicts the Statue of Liberty being slammed by waves, are the products of digital merging. The site says the storm cloud comes from a photo by Mike Hollingshead and has been circulating online as far back as 2005 when Hurricane Katrina happened.
I saw a different version of that photo circulating last night. But my Twitter feed may be a bit more sarcastic than the average:
There are a couple of shark photos making the rounds. This is one of them, and as Snopes reports, it's a photoshop:
And then there are the images that are actual storm photos but weren't from Hurricane Sandy, that includes this one, which is an actual photo of New York City during a storm, just not Hurricane Sandy.
It was taken through a tinted window during a thunderstorm last year.
This McDonalds photo has apparently been making the rounds, though it's not from a McDonalds in Virginia Beach as some may be claiming. Snopes says it's a still from a fake McDonalds set up for a "Flooded McDonald's" video artwork done back in 2009.
Finally, regarding the image of the soldiers outside the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, Virginia, this photo was taken last month (September). That really doesn't lessen the impressiveness of the image, though. It's a great photo and it shows the dedication of these soldiers to protect the tomb regardless of the weather. It just wasn't taken during Hurricane Sandy.
While the above photo wasn't taken during the hurricane, the sentry detail for the tomb remained in place throughout the storm yesterday. Here's one of the pictures posted at the 3dU.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Facebook page, which shows Spc. Brett Hyde...
Spc. Brett Hyde, Tomb Sentinel, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), keeps guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Hurricane Sandy at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Oct. 29, 2012. Hyde lives by the Sentinel's Creed which in part says “Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability”. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.)
Truly impressive and inspiring!
As for the photoshops and recycled images, if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's to check Snopes before hitting share or retweet! The site is well known for staying on top of these kinds of things, and it'll save you the awkwardness of having to retract your excited Tweet or Facebook post.