LMU Library News

Seeing is Believing? Reverse Image Search Tools

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When you see a photo on social media that makes you angry or pleased, do you take it at face value? Do you stop to verify where the photo came from before hitting like or retweet? More than 80% of the students participating in a recent Stanford History Education Group Study failed to question the legitimacy of a photograph of wilting flowers accompanied by the caption “Fukushima Nuclear Flowers.”

fake-deformed-flowers

A common mutation in daisies

The photo was posted on a photo sharing website and was framed to imply the flowers had birth defects caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Given the prevalence of fake news online, it’s important to know when you are being bamboozled. Here are two tools featured on the library’s Fake News Libguide to help you evaluate social media images.

The first tool is Google Reverse Image Search, which lets you use a picture as your search to discover if the image has appeared online before. This video demonstrates how to run a search:

The second tool is TinEye, which uses image identification technology to search for your image and match its pixel display. This tells you when the oldest version of an image first appeared online. Take a look at this video to see how TinEye works:

Want more ways to verify your social media news? Check out the Verification Handbook’s list of tools!

Today’s post was written by Head of Reference & Instruction Services, Susan Gardner Archambault.