Fake Photos, Old Photos Circulate with Hurricane Sandy Posts

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(Credit: Facebook, Jason Otts, screenshot)

Fake and dated photos are circulating with Hurricane Sandy coverage today.

Gawker noted that “everyone from the New York Times‘ Jodi Kantor to the New Yorker’s David Grann to Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski” tweeted a fake photo of an ominous storm cloud near the Statue of Liberty. (Kantor tweeted later that the photo was “fake” and pointed to a Snopes page, and Grann and Kaczynski both tweeted that the picture was fake.)

Another photo circulating today pictures soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Gawker noted. NPR tweeted and posted the photo of three soldiers “standing guard.”

NPR reported on the picture, calling it “one of the more stunning pictures we’ve come across today,” and sourcing it to First Army Division East’s Facebook page.

But, in an “update,” NPR disclosed that the photo was “not taken during Sandy” but instead was from last month. As the source for that, NPR pointed to the Old Guard’s Twitter account, which tweeted “Thanks for posting the pic about @The_Old_Guard, but that is not from today. This one is http://goo.gl/OC5lz ”

In follow-up posts, the Old Guard tweeted that the picture was from September. One of those tweets responded to the  Washington Post, which had posted a tweet with a now-dead story linkThe Washington Post’s tweet has apparently since been deleted. iMediaEthics wrote to the Post asking for confirmation that it deleted the tweet and post, why it deleted the tweet and post and if the Post will tweet and post a correction. The Post’s Communications Director Kris Coratti responded, directing us to the Post’s live blog on Hurricane Sandy, which includes a note that “we mistakenly posted” the photo on Twitter “before removing the photo and adding one that was taken today.”

Poynter noted that “the Daily Beast, Talking Points Memo, Slate and others” posted the photo.  The Daily Beast published the photo as its “Picture of the Day,” but noted in an “update” that

“Commenter @saladdin pointed out that this was not from today. After some researching, it appears that is correct. (Currently slapping myself for being gullible.)”

Talking Points Memo posted a “correction” to its post on the photo.  The in-text correction reads:

“CORRECTION: The photo above appears to have been taken in September, according to Poynter.”

iMediaEthics has written to the Daily Beast and NPR asking why they posted “updates” instead of “corrections” and will update with any response.

Tips for Checking Pics

Gawker suggested checking out possible phony photos through “a reverse image search” or just checking other reports or looking outside.  Other fake photo checking tips, via the Guardian, include “check webcams” and “the user’s share history.” Poynter’s Craig Silverman pointed to Storyful‘s advice to track down where photos in question originate.

The Atlantic also collected a host of phony photos that are circulating, identifying their collection as fake photos, old photos, or old, fake photos.

iMediaEthics wrote last year about a fake photo purporting to show a shark swimming through Hurricane Irene floodwaters.

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Fake Photos, Old Photos Circulate with Hurricane Sandy Posts

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