2017 has been an eventful year and if we look back at the outgoing year – a number of stories came into global spotlight due to social media and it’s equally disappointing to note that many of them were fake!
Twitter and Facebook remained the popular sources for news around the world, but WhatsApp was also a silent contributor to make any content, primarily videos, viral.
A large number of people use social media to share important news, but there is also a segment that resort to this useful medium for manipulation of information to serve their own agenda.
Here we explore some of the viral stories of 2017 that eventually turned out to be fake and fabricated:
Doctored picture of world leaders at G20 summit
A picture from the G20 Summit in July became the attention of a lot of jokes mainly because of the expressions on US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s faces.
Here is the real picture:
The photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting in the middle, but in fact he was not there and the image was doctored and it went viral befooling users on the social media.
Woman ‘undergoes 50 surgeries’ to look like Angelina Julie. Thanks to Photoshop
Nineteen-year-old Sahar Tabar made headlines across the globe for pictures with the claim that she underwent 50 surgeries to look like her Hollywood idol Angelina Jolie and sent shock-waves across social media.
It took only a day when it transpired that underwent a hectic half an hour of Adobe Photoshop to doctor images.
Fake Hurricane Irma video that drew 35 million views
A video was shared by a Facebook user named Hendry Moya Duran in September and captioned it: “Hurricane Irma” and the video acquired 35 million views.
But later it was found that the video was fake and an old footage that had been online for over a year. Some users pointed out that the video was actually of a tornado hitting Uruguay in 2016.
Jacob Zuma mocked after doctored clip goes viral
South African president Jacob Zuma was cynosure of jokes when a video showing him went viral and showed he couldn’t pronounce the word “beginning”.
However, it was later found out that the flurry of “in the beginning” videos on YouTube were all fake, and people started posting the original video to reveal the truth behind it.
The original video is here:
Shark picture that fooled us all
Fake news sometimes comes with equal bang of breaking news. A Twitter user named Jason Michael posted a picture of a shark on the street of Houston, Texas, back in August when the US was hit by Hurricane Harvey, and it went viral. The picture drew more than 140,000 likes and over 87,000 shares.
But different from other fake stories, the user himself clarified that he knew it was fake and reasoned that he misspelled Harvey (#HurricaneHarvy in his tweet) and he didn’t delete it.
Blogger gets fame with edited pictures
Amelia Liana, travel blogger, made use to photoshop and her editing skills to get into news. But soon she was caught.
Liana had to face a lot of criticism online, and was brutally trolled on Twitter.
The seven-headed cobra that shocked the world
It was not just politicians and other celebrities that became an object of fake news alone. An image of this rather ordinary cobra was doctored to make it creepy looking seven-headed and people thought it was true.
And its video was also shared on the YouTube that garnered 10 million views.
Viral cheetah picture
A picture of impala being attacked by two cheetahs went viral with a short story that impala sacrificed itself to save its children, but it was all made up.
The photographer who had clicked the photograph took to Facebook to clarify what the picture is all about.
Here’s what he had posted.
Fake Kashmir photo
It happened when Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, held up a photograph of a scarred girl at the United Nations last weekend, she said she was offering proof of “Indian brutality” in Kashmir.
But the photo turned out to be that of a 17-year-old Palestinian girl, taken in Gaza in 2014 by award-winning photographer Heidi Levine. The teenager had been injured by shrapnel in an Israeli attack.
Not a fake story, but in fact a fake picture that dominated Twitter for a day it was flashed by Ms Lodhi at the UN. But, the users were quick to point out that message behind the picture of Indian brutality on innocent Kashmiris was not at all fake.