22 Viral Pictures That Were Actually Fake

In shock news, not everything on the internet is real.

1. Everybody loves a good fake picture.

Helicopter Shark. A classic.

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2. Of course, picture hoaxes were popular long before the internet.

Not actual fairies, no matter what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thought.

ID: 1612305

3. But the internet’s taken them to a whole new level.

Hurrah for Photoshop.

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4. Pictures about shocking and frightening events get shared a lot.

The infamous World Trade Centre “Tourist Guy” was actually a Hungarian man who edited a picture he’d taken years before as a joke for friends.

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5. And massive animals always go down well.

That is not, and never was, the world’s biggest dog.

ID: 1613117

6. You can Photoshop pictures to make the world seem more dramatic.

The oil rig is fine, guys.

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7. Or to make a political point.

In the original photo, Mitt Romney and his supporters were able to spell his name right.

ID: 1611454

8. Or just because it looks cool.

Not an island in Ireland - a German castle stuck on top of a Thai rock formation.

ID: 1611832

9. Or possibly you wish to defame koalas.

Wet koalas are pretty angry, but not that angry.

ID: 1611887

10. Your Photoshopping doesn’t even need to be that good. People will still buy it.

Not a picture of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami - an altered picture of the Chilean coastline.

ID: 1611754

11. And the picture doesn’t have to be especially plausible.

Those aren’t the hands of God, emerging in the aftermath of a hurricane. They’re the hands of Goatse.

ID: 1611797

12. The golden rule: if somewhere has become flooded, you must add sharks.

Sharks did not invade New Jersey’s streets post-Hurricane Sandy. It’s Photoshopped.

ID: 1611645

13. Always sharks.


ID: 1611646

14. People love sharks.

Yep. Photoshopped.

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15. If you can’t be bothered Photoshopping something yourself, just take a picture from a TV show.

This is not a picture from the crash of Air France flight 447 in 2009. It’s a picture from Lost.

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16. Or a film. A film that even used this as a promotional image.

The Statue of Liberty right now - | #sandy

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews)



The Statue of Liberty right now - | #sandy

/ Via
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The Day After Tomorrow, not Hurricane Sandy.

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17. In fact, you can normally just find a picture of anything vaguely similar and misattribute it.

Hurricane Sandy approaching New York.

— Eamonn Fitzmaurice (@efitz6)

Eamonn Fitzmaurice


Hurricane Sandy approaching New York.

/ Via
ID: 1611625

Also not Sandy - just a thunderstorm from the year before.

ID: 1611627

These pictures always make good fake hurricanes. They get wheeled out pretty much any time there’s a big one.


They’re actually supercell thunderstorms, which look a lot more interesting than real hurricanes.

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18. If there’s a tear-jerking story that can go alongside the picture, so much the better.

A Boy Who Chained His Bike To A Tree In 1914 To Fight In A War And Never Returned.

— Historical Pictures™ (@Historicalpix)

Historical Picturesâ„¢


A Boy Who Chained His Bike To A Tree In 1914 To Fight In A War And Never Returned.

/ Via
ID: 1611636

The bike is real, but was abandoned in the 1950s - the story of its owner going off to war is fictional.

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19. Or an inspiring message always goes down well.

This is how #India looks like from outer space on Diwali Night. Happy Diwali to entire world. Wish you brightness. Pic

— Mind Blowing Facts (@TheMindBlowing)

Mind Blowing Facts


This is how #India looks like from outer space on Diwali Night. Happy Diwali to entire world. Wish you brightness. Pic

/ Via
ID: 1611672

Really a false-colour composite of images taken over the course of a decade, showing how the distribution of light in India changed over time. Which is actually much cooler than the fake caption.

ID: 1611686

20. Or a jaw-dropping concept - like the idea that this is the Earth, Jupiter and Venus seen by a rover on the surface of Mars.

It’s almost certainly a computer generated image from a piece of planetarium software.

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21. Failing that, nobody ever went wrong with a fabulous owl.

Look, obviously that’s not real.

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22. And if you’re still stuck for ideas, just claim today’s the day Marty McFly travels to in Back To The Future II. That works every time. Every. Single. Time.

No matter how many times somebody says this, unless it’s October 21, 2015, they’re wrong.

ID: 1612077

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Tom Phillips is the UK editorial director for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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