Making up of news stories to deceive or even entertain people isn’t new. The Onion’s media empire, built on satirical, fake news stories, has been around since 1988.
But the growth of the web and social media, in particular, has meant that both genuine and fictional news stories can now be consumed on the same platform with very little telling them apart.
A picture should be accurate in illustrating what the story is about. But fake news stories are often accompanied by photos that are sourced from the web, often unrelated and much older than the story claims.
The simplest way to verify the authenticity of such an image is through Google’s reverse image search.
Here are some simple steps to spot the difference:
1. Make sure you are using Google’s Chrome browser on your PC or smartphone
2. Right-click the image you want to verify if you are on a PC and on a smartphone, touch and hold the image till a menu pops up
3. Select Search Google for this image
4. A new tab will open with your results
If the image is appearing on a lot of stories about many different topics, there’s a good chance it’s not actually an image of what the first story talked about.