A critical tool you should use during times of civil unrest: image search, to verify viral photos on social media


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An important point.

tineye offers convenient browser plug-ins.


Huh. So are these from people who are just seeking attention? Or are they by people trying to make others look bad?

Well, I’d guess both. Disaffected teens lashing out for the former, and white supremacists trying to reinforce their brand for the latter.

The first time I looked on youtube for Baltimore footage (because I was too lazy to drive 30 minutes and see it live) the top-trending stuff was obviously being posted by white supremacists. The titles of the videos were pretty obviously racist.


###Rumsfeld on Baltimore: “Looting is Transition to Freedom”

Nope! Baghdad, 2003


Some are created and/or forwarded by idiots who may actually believe them. For example, the countless people on Facebook who forwarded these images purporting to show the “real” Trayvon Martin:

The problem in that case is that someone just searched Facebook for people named “Trayvon Martin” and apparently decided that the thuggiest looking example they could find must be the “real” photo of the kid who had been killed. Because everyone knows mainstream media is biased and there was no way that George Zimmerman would really murder a scrawny little teen who hadn’t done anything wrong and didn’t pose a physical threat.

What really frustrates me is that even when I correct the Facebook friends who forward this junk they’re likely to forget that they’d been had and re-post exactly the same thing a couple of weeks or months later. It’s hard to get people to let go of an idea they want to believe.


What is a ‘reverse’ image search? Arent they all just image searches?

Yeah I remember that. Not sure why they have to twist the truth, the truth is convoluted enough. It is impossible to tell a story with a few pics. IIRC there were other real photos of him smoking and flipping off the camera, as well as fishing and in a suit.

I just had a video pop up in my feed supposedly of Micheal Brown smacking the crap out of this older guy. But a quick search showed it was someone else.


A reverse image is when you submit an image to a search engine, by uploading or linking, and it searches for similar images.


Yeah, it seems like every time a young black man gets gunned down one of the first responses is a bunch of idiots on Facebook posting pictures of a completely different young black man posing in a threatening way as proof of how violent the dead guy really was. Most of the time they don’t even resemble the deceased except in a general “those guys all look the same” kind of way.


quoting someone here recently: I only regret I have but one like to give for this post.


I dont like it… I dont reverse google something

Exactly, the suggestion to check sources is important here, much as for other dis-info coming from state and non-state proaganda outlets as well…
This is Michael Brown from the security footage before he was shot:

Trolls. Which is to say, both at once.

Maybe you should try. It can be pretty eye-opening!

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You have an unusual definition of “friend.” I use other words to describe race trolls.

Also, I have never seen the word thuggiest before - may I use it in Scrabble?

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Why is it some people totally unconnected to a case like this always show up to make desperate claims about how much the unarmed black youth deserved to die? Because that’s the claim, right? Black boy is big so he must die. If that’s not it, then exactly what are they trying to justify?

It’s so important to them, they will bring it right into an unrelated discussion - almost as if they wanted to derail it into a forum for white supremacism.


I prefer the Who stole my pictures? plugin for Firefox. It searches Yandex.ru, Tineye, Google and Bing (though I’ve found that Google seems to yield the best results these days). Tineye has generally let me down most of the time.

Think of it like a “reverse phone number look up” - normally, you have a name and you’re looking for a phone number. A reverse number search is when you have the number and you want to find the name associated with it. Similarly, a normal Google image search is when you have a search term, and want to find an image that matches that search term. A reverse image search is when you already have the image, and you want to find its original source.

Oh, and @xeni: