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Fact Checking the News: DIY: Fact Checking Images and Video

Photos or Fauxtos?

Has the image been manipulated or reused in a false story?


Use reverse image searching and image forensics tools to identify fakes. or determine where the image originally came from.

Citizen Evidence Lab: Tool Box - Created by Amnesty International, the tool box links to a variety of mostly free digital tools useful for verifying photos and videos depicting human rights abuses.

Reverse Image Searching

A 'reverse image' search will show you if the photo has appeared elsewhere online.  It can also show you similar images that may indicate that the photo is a mash up other images. Look for dates on the websites that contain the photo if your photo is about an event.

Google Images  or  TineyeThese two sites work the same way: drag and drop an image, or type in its URL, to see which webpages contain the image.  You'll also see similar images.

Yandex - See which webpages contain an image, and view various resolutions of that image.  If your image is small, seeing a larger version may make smaller elements more visible.

Fact Checking Videos

Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content - From the website of Bellingcat, a British-based group of citizen journalists who use open source software and social media to fact check information.  How reliable is their work?  Read discussion/interview with Bellingcat founder Elliot Higgins in the Columbia Journalism Review and a profile in the New Yorker.

The Physics of Fake Videos - tips from Wired magazine.

Image Forensics

These digital forensics tools can help you identify when and how a photo or video was manipulated.

FotoForensics - Provides Error Level Analysis (ELA) of uploaded photos, showing what parts of the photo have been manipulated. Accuracy and level of detail depends on having a high quality photo, as close to the original as possible. - very time an image is resaved, (rather than copied) detail is lost. Info on originals will also include metadata and may contain date and GPS location.  Use a reverse image search to find the highest quality copy, or the original.  FotoForensics tutorial.

YouTube DataViewer - Created by Amnesty Interational, it  will show when a video was uploaded to Youtube and displays all thumbnails for the video, which you can use for a 'reverse image search'. 

Pic2Map - Locate and view your photos on Google Maps.  Depending on the brand and model of the camera; this site can identify camera settings and the date and time the image was taken.

Wikimapia Crowd-sourced version of Google Maps, featuring additional information......