José Roberto Rincón: Images That Went Viral: Fake or Real Photos? (Part I)

A viral photo is an image posted on a social networking site that gets shared and reposted by many people. Viral images are many times paired with a falsely attributed quote, or with a story that falls into urban legend status and is completely untrue; or at the very least, retold with a total lack of supporting facts or legitimate references.

Despite this lack of proof and facts, people repost the image over and over and many take it at face value and believe it to be truth, never bothering to do a 1 minute Internet search that would reveal its message to be completely untrue.

Viral images are often used as propaganda with a clear bias towards once side of a cause or viewpoint. Still, some are just a funny picture with a silly caption.

You cannot imagine how many fake pictures you see everyday on the Internet and, what is even more shocking is how quickly they become viral. Here, we show you the first part of a gallery of images that went viral in only days, but that were actually fake and computer manipulated.

  1. Fried Chicken Oreos

José Roberto Rincón: Fried Chicken Oreos
Fried Chicken Oreos

Fried Chicken Oreos are not a real thing. The photo of a bag of these cookies that went viral was a fake. However, why not have fried chicken Oreos?

Also, Oreos already come in many different, unusual flavors, such as cookie dough, candy corn, green tea ice cream, limeade, orange ice cream, etc. So fried chicken flavor is not that much of a stretch. Obviously, the one who did this image was making fun about these crazy new flavors of Oreo, so, he or she probably was creating something very ironic.

The Fried Chicken Oreo picture appears to have been first posted online by Instagram user moorestyle10. Some say that the Fried Chicken Oreo picture was adapted from the cover art for Watermelon Oreos.

  1. Giant Santa Monica Squid

 José Roberto Rincón: Giant Santa Monica Squid
Giant Santa Monica Squid

The latest fake news article masquerading as authentic report involves a giant squid – grown to mutant size because of Fukushima radiation (what?!)- supposedly washed ashore near Santa Monica. The photo of the giant squid is circulating with hashtags such as #RadioactiveGigantism and #GiantSeaCreature.

The story comes from a site called The Lightly Braised Turnip.

A few months ago a giant squid really did wash ashore in Spain, and the people at the Lightly Braised Turnip used an image of that squid to create their faux Santa Monica beach scene. The beach scene that the giant squid was inserted into came from a Nov 2011 story about a dead whale washed ashore in Chile.

  1. Jennifer Aniston’s Haircut

José Roberto Rincón: Jennifer Aniston Fake Haircut
Jennifer Aniston Fake Haircut

April 1, 2013 -the site Daily Makeover (which describes itself as “Hairstyles, Makeup and Cosmetics Inspiration”) posted a photo of Jennifer Aniston with a buzzcut. The site claimed that Aniston had cut off her hair for a role in a film and quoted her as saying, but actually, the photo was the site’s April Fool joke. It had doctored an image of Aniston taken while she was attending the 2006 premiere of Friends with Money.

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