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Don't trust pictures on the internet!

Spotting fake news

Lots of pictures online are not what they say they are! Here are three common things that might have happened to photos on the internet.
1. Miscaptioning
Miscaptioning is pretending that a photo shows something that it doesn’t. For example the caption might change the date or place or pretend it shows a specific event when the photo actually shows something different or was taken elsewhere or at a different time.

Challenge: caption competition – what descriptions can you think of that would change the meaning of this photo?

This photo of plastic toy dinosaurs would be much more strange if the caption was: "New species of tiny dinosaur discovered!"

What might happen if people believed the false caption? Why could this be a problem?

(Photo: Sorcha Hughes)
2. Forced perspective
Forced perspective is making something look bigger or smaller than it really is by placing it nearer or further away from the camera.

Challenge: demonstrate how you shouldn’t trust pictures on the internet by showing how forced perspective pictures are made.
1. Take your forced perspective photo: make sure that the object/person you want to look big is close to the camera, and the object/person you want to look small is far away!

2. Take a photo of the object and person together showing their actual sizes to explain how the trick was done.

We’d love to see some of your examples of forced perspective photos – you can tweet them to @GetNewsWise.

(Photos: NewsWise)
3. Photo manipulation
Another common way that pictures can be manipulated is by using editing software such as Photoshop to change the image in some way. Part of the picture could be moved around, made bigger or smaller, or erased altogether. Or someone could 'cut out' an element from one picture and superimpose (put it on top of) a completely different picture, like our dinosaurs at the Eiffel Tower.

Sometimes, people use editing software to change the way a photograph looks for artistic reasons; they are just making the image look better, not trying to deceive anyone. Other times, someone might edit a photo to try to fool people into believing something untrue.
To check a photo you are not sure about you can do a reverse image search. You should always do this with a teacher or parent! This will show you everywhere that the image has been used in the past, including where the original photo comes from, so you can find out if it has been changed. Google and TinEye are both easy to use.

You can find a reverse image search below for the dinosaur picture - which shows they were never really at the Eiffel Tower!

(Eiffel Tower photo: Filip Andrejevic/ Unsplash. Dinosaur photos: Sorcha Hughes)
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