Nine More Viral Photos That are Totally Fake

By Matt Novak on at

The internet is an incredible place, often filled with beauty, wonder, and truth. It can also be a cesspool of lies. Today we have another instalment in our ongoing series of photo debunkings. You may have seen these nine images swirling around the internet recently. But none of them are quite what they seem.

1.) Is This the Full Moon as Seen From Australia?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

Australia is a gorgeous country, filled with cute animals, gorgeous sunsets, and stunning night skies. But this photo purporting to be a full moon in Australia is a bunch of hooey. (Please excuse my strong language.)

Now, I know what you're thinking: who in their right mind would believe this was real? The answer? Over 1,000 people who retweeted the image. And plenty more, as it has made its way through Pinterest and Facebook.

Fake image via SpacePornx


2.) Are These Ewoks in Owl Form?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

These "owls" might be cute, but they're not real. They're adorable toys, made by Russian artist Marina Yamkovskaia. And for what it's worth, they definitely look more Labyrinth to me than Star Wars.

Fake image via Imgur


3.) Is This Time Magazine's Definition of a Perfect Body in 1955?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

No, the photos above aren't from 1955. And they weren't Time magazine's definition of a "perfect body." As Snopes points out, the photo actually shows adult film star Aria Giovanni in a photo taken in 2004. The photo is currently going viral in its black and white form, perhaps to make it seem more vintage.

The "perfect body of X year" has actually turned into quite the meme. It's usually meant to be empowering for women and a reminder that the clichéd aspiration to achieve the body type of rail-thin models isn't the norm — or at least hasn't been through most of history.

But in this case it's hard to see this as necessarily empowering for women in any real capacity. It's quite literally a porn star, and this particular version of the meme was almost certainly started by trolls.

Fake photo via History_Pics


4.) Is This a Tree Growing Through an Abandoned Piano?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

No, a tree didn't grow its way through an abandoned piano. This photo was taken by a Flickr user back in 2010, and as Twitter user Janne Ahlberg points out, the piano was placed there by an artist named Jeff.

Jeff, for what it's worth, sounds a bit unstable. He explains in a video about how he got the free piano and then started "talking" to the trees for permission to place the piano in the woods:

I was gonna do different stuff with the piano. And then I was going around and I started talking to some trees, and basically found that one tree that would fit perfectly — that wanted the piano. So as soon as that tree kinda gave me permission to do that I kinda went ahead and did it.

Um, sure Jeff.

Fake photo via Abandoned Pics


5.) Is This Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson Posing Together as the Joker?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

Well, no, that's not Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson. They're action figures. Really well-made action figures, I'll grant you. But action figures nonetheless.

Fake image via Imgur


6.) Is This Martin Luther King Jr. Giving the Finger?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

No matter how many times this photo of Martin Luther King Jr. is debunked, it always seems to pop up again and again on sites like Imgur, Reddit, and Pinterest. It's a photoshop job.

The real photo (on the right) actually shows King reacting in St. Augustine, Florida, after learning that the Senate had passed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. He's holding up two fingers, not one. V for victory.

Fake photo via Pinterest; Imgur


7.) Is This Shanghai in 1987 and 2015, After "26 years"?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

Yes, that top photo does show Shanghai in 1987. But the bottom photo is from 2013, not 2015 .It's a relatively minor factual error, but it reveals the sloppiness of these "historical pics" accounts.

The vast majority just scrape photos from Reddit and Imgur. And in this case they were savvy enough to know that the current year would garner more shares. But not savvy enough to know that they'd have to change the maths to alter it from 26 years to 28 years.

Inaccurate description via HistoricalPics


8.) Is This Paris Hilton Wearing a Top That Says "Stop Being Poor"?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

Recently an Imgur set of wealthy famous people saying terrible things made the front page. The top image shows Paris Hilton (remember her?) wearing a T-shirt that says "Stop Being Poor". As easy as it might be to believe, it's actually a Photoshop job.

The photo was taken in 2005 and her top actually says "Stop Being Desperate". Hilton may have spent her entire career trying to instigate a class war, but she didn't do it by wearing garments imploring people not to be poor.

Fake photo via Imgur


9.) Is This a Supermoon in Dubai?

9 More Viral Photos That Are Totally Fake

Close, but the photo on the left is actually Photoshopped. As PicPedant points out, the original photo was taken by Mo Aoun and shows the moon off to the side. The moon in the altered photo is also larger than the original. This seems to be a case of people taking something beautiful and making it literally unbelievable.

Fake photo via AstronomyHD


This article originally appeared on Factually, Gizmodo's blog for setting the record straight