11 Viral Photos That Turned out to be Fakes

11 Viral Photos That Turned out to be Fakes

It’s easy to get something go viral these days. With programs like Photoshop, photos can be doctored easily. And people are generally known for lying, just to convey their message to the world, even if it means there’s no truth behind it. We have seen throughout history were men and women have purposely shared photos, just to some attention. While photos are the most commonly shared types of media on the internet, there have been several cases where doctored images have gone viral.

Of course, the same technology used by these so called experts to stage something can be used to detect phony images. While most of us aren’t fooled by these viral images, there are some who have mastered the art of doctoring to make things look extremely realistic. Here, we are listing 11 photos that went viral online and were later proven to be fakes.




1. Astronauts can get extremely high.

astronaut, photos, life, people, facts, history
Image: Space

Of course the first photo was doctored, even though it looks extremely realistic. The image was photoshopped by redditors as part of a photoshop battle. The original image was taken on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, where Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shows the six Easter eggs he packed for his six-man International Space Station crew. Chris Hadfield who was the commander of the International Space Station wanted to make sure that the Easter Bunny would make a special trip to the orbital lab.

2. Liz & Marilyn

photos, life, facts, images, photoshop
Image: Twitter/Tumblr

The internet is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. At the same time, the internet is filled with tons of fake Marilyn Monroe photos. Unfortunately, this photos falls into that category. No, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe did not pose for a picture together. Although whoever made the composite did a great job, as the doctored image has been circling Twitter. The photo however, is actually a combination of two photos. The photo of Elizabeth Taylor was taken in 1948 by Mark Kauffman and the photo of Marilyn Monroe was taken at Griffith Park in Los Angeles in 1950 by Ed Clark. It’s still unclear where the composite originated from.

3. “Behind the scenes” of the MGM lion intro.

Samson, lion, facts, photos, MGM, life, entertainment
Image: The Telegraph

The “roaring lion” intro is something we can all associate with our childhood. You would think that a billion dollar company like MGM could choose a better way to make an intro, instead of using cardboard stickups. The image was in fact doctored and the real image is of a two-year-old lion named Samson, who had to undergo surgery; according to The Telegraph. Samson is the star attraction at an Israeli zoo who suddenly fell ill for unknown reason. Thankfully, a pioneer vet was able to save him by performing a life-saving surgery. The MGM intro was in fact recorded using a live lion named Leo, in 1957.

4. Selfie while flying a plane.

flying, plane, facts, photos, life
Image: Snopes

Daniel Centeno is a Brazilian pilot who loves to take selfies and then photoshop them to make it look like he’s taking them while up in the air. For years, Centeno has been superimposing an aerial image over a selfie from outside the cockpit to fool viewers on his Instagram account. First of all, the images have several signs of manipulation such as his hair, which is not blowing against the wind. Above all, the reflection in the pilot’s sunglasses shows an airport runway’s tarmac. If that isn’t enough, Centeno admitted in the captions that the photos were doctored yet people have no time to read, and instead believe everything they see on the internet.




5. The rare “black lion”.

Lion, black, animal, photos, life, facts
Image: DevantArt

While technically it is possible for lions to be black, the above image is clearly doctored. According to the man who doctored the image, he took a picture of a white lion and with the help of photoshop, changed the color of its fur. The original picture was of a white (or albino) lion, and then it was colored black and posted by “PAulie-SVK” on DeviantArt. Even without all the photoshop and editing, lions are beautiful creatures.

6. The fried rice wave.

rice, Asia, life, people, food, facts, photos
Image: reddit

Recently, an image known as the ‘fried rice meme’, showing a man making an incredible rice wave in his pan has been a sensation on the internet. After posting the image on Reddit, the image was quick to make it to the front pages of other website but sadly, it’s just another doctored image by YouTuber Kanta of Mizutamari Bond. The image was shot as part of a prank video and was created for a good laugh. Kanta pulled off the prank to astound his partner Tommy, for their YouTube channel MTV Tokyo fried rice Guys. The real photo comes from a store window display in Tokyo, which he used his photoshop skills to add to an image of him standing next to a pan.

7. Bear chasing a cyclist.

bear, cyclist, man, photos, doctored, photoshop
Image: Tumblr

While it’s common for bears to chase people since they are territorial animals, the above image was clearly doctored. In February of 2019, the above image was spreading throughout the internet with the caption: “Meals on Wheels in Canada”. However, it is certainly not a genuine photograph. The original photo was posted to Tumblr by Adonis Arias with the caption that it was taken in Yellowstone National Park. Some user on the internet was brave enough to add a stock image of a cyclist to the image and make it more dramatic.




8. Picture of a dwarf giraffe.

giraffe, photos, zoo, life, facts, survival
Image: Snopes

A photo of a giraffe with dwarfism has been used online multiple times, claiming it to be a rare condition. Although animals can have dwarfism, this photo however, was doctored. According to Snopes, the only condition this giraffe suffers from is really bad photoshop skills. The original image was taken by Emmanuel Wiedenhoff at a zoo in France in 2004 whereas the doctored image was made as part of a photoshop contest by an anonymous user.

9. Bear chasing National Geographic photographers.

Nat Geo, wildlife, facts, photos, entertainment
Image: reddit

For years, the photo of a bear chasing the National Geographic crew has been circling the internet. While the situation can be extremely dangerous, this was in fact a doctored image. The image of the men running was taken first and a stock image of a grisly was added to the background.

10. Albert Einstein riding a bike while an atomic explosion takes place in the background.

Albert Einstein, life, history, science, facts, photos
Image: Snopes

The photo of Einstein riding a bike was taken in Santa Barbara in 1933 while the mushroom cloud photo was taken at the Frenchman Flat test site in 1962; seven years after Einstein passed away. The portion of Einstein’s image was carefully masked and then inverted into the second image to achieve the results.

11. Photo from NASA of India during Diwali.

India, Diwali, festival, facts, photos, history
Image: NOAA

The “NASA photo” of India during the Hindu festival of Diwali is without doubt, doctored. According to Gizmodo, the image first appeared online in 2012, and has since been circling throughout the internet. The image is in fact a composite of satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2003 that has been shaded different colors. The different shades of grey are supposed to show population growth over time but someone decided to add some colors to it and change the caption.




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