The truth is out there. And by “out there” I mean anywhere but the internet. We see hundreds of images flash in front of our eyes every month. But these are the ones you might have seen recently that deserve a second look. Because they’re all fake.
1) Is this a real Yeti?
Last week 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.
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.
If it’s a marketing stunt, I’m sure we’ll get confirmation in the next few weeks from the Yeti™ brand ski mask company (or whatever). But if it’s a good, old-fashioned attention-seeking hoax, then this one might be debated for years to come. Rest assured, it’s not a yeti.
Fake via ForoCoches
2) 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 realise that it looks artificial for a reason.
Fake via AstronomyGeeks
3) Is this a real ad for “asthma cigarettes”?
Amazingly, “asthma cigarettes” were a real thing. But sadly, this ad is a fake.
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.
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 sweet ever.
Fake via StephenFry; Fake fake fake by Andrew Liszewski
4) 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.
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 apologised.
5) 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.
The message is seen as one of female empowerment and independence in the west, 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.
6) 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.”
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.”
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.
Fake tweet via johnalexcorrea
7) 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.
Fake via Donald Trump
8) 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 is being circulated again. But the next time your Scottish aunt posts it on Facebook, delicately break it to her that this one isn’t real.
Or something. I don’t have a Scottish aunt either. But you know what I mean.
Fake via Twitter
9) 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.
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