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Fact check everything!

I woke up today with an image that a couple of people shared to their social media. It was the image of nightmares, an aggressive bear entering a tent and growling at it’s next victim. Here is the image.


If you have seen the image shared, or shared it yourself, you will probably have a description that goes a little like this.

Michio Hoshino, a photographer known for his pictures of bears and other wildlife, was mauled to death by a brown bear on the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. He was in his mid-40’s and lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. This is the last photo he took.

This isn’t the last photo he took.

Michio Hoshino was indeed a photographer. He was also killed by a bear. But this doesn’t mean any photo with a bear and the attached text is all it seems. Just a 30 second Google tells us that this isn’t a genuine photo, but a photoshop used in a competition.

Over at Snopes, they provided a little insight to the origin after the image went viral.

It’s an entry from a Worth1000 Photoshop competition in which contestants were tasked with creating “a last-photo hoax: the final photograph of the victim, whoever he might be, had a camera on him right before ‘it’ happens.

This blog as far back as 2009 also analyses the image. With the title ‘About Alleged Michio Hoshino’s Last Image of a Bear’, the author studies the image in more depth, with an update that ‘the photo was photoshopped by user BonnySaintAndrew as a an entry for a Final Photo 9 contest’. It also looks into the lighting in the photo considering the attack occurred around 4am.


Of course I could spend all day fact checking the fact checkers, but this would take me all the way back to the deadly event in 1996. But as always, if it seems to incredible to be true, it probably is.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t incredible photos out there. There have been so many that I have seen and thought ‘that has to be fake, come on!’ before looking it up and finding out it is indeed a genuine. There are photos even crazier than this one. The first one that springs to mind is camera footage of a Bigfin Squid found by a deep-sea camera operated by a drilling company in the Gulf of Mexico. 


Now I am not sure if this specific photo is genuine, however finding the video footage of the encounter shows that this is exactly what it looks like. I believe this image was a zoom out of that camera, and even if this is a fake, it is still nowhere near as eerie as the actual video footage when it was unexpectedly seen.

I don’t want to be a bore and call out all amazing yet fake photos, I just think it would be much better if we filter out the fakes and enjoy the genuine crazy occurances that are captured by our amazing little pocket devices. 

I know as the day goes on, that bear photo will continue to be shared. There will be hundreds more comments of ‘hey, that’s incredible!’, ‘scary shit!’ and so on. Yet it takes less than a minute to find the genuine source and the specific photoshopper. Is it any wonder we live in a world of lies and deceit when they can spread like wildfire online? Why spend time researching the facts when it takes less time to simply believe. This is why we have so many conspiracies, and religions determined by geographical location more than evidence. This is why I find it so fun to do a little research, the most interesting caves are the ones that are waiting to be discovered!

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30 replies »

  1. One cannot research all facts that we come across.. I agree with you completely on fake fotos, but for the sake of time, I just have no other opinions except for it being an interesting foto. I do it go into is this real or not unless I am super interested. But the same is with quotes, scientifica discoveries, politics and gossips, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I guess my post is aimed at those that spread the false information, especially those with large following, for giving fake info out to thousands of people. For these groups, if they are putting out images to the masses, they should at least do research first!

      Like

      • I think if it is going to get a bunch of likes and keeps the page running consistently, it doesn’t really matter for certain people, fake or not.
        I agree with Anastasia that we cannot fact check everything (it was an overly ambitious post title I admit), and we could spend forever fact checking everything in life. It’s just photos like this astound me and I want to believe it’s real, so I research them!

        Like

  2. I think it’s a common thing to do nowadays especially with social media..your first reaction would be to share such news with others rather than to stop and verify the information…i have told this many times to my parents who like to share all sorts of stories with others without stopping to think twice..i hope others are more vigilant about sharing such stories though because it may sometimes affect other people livelihood..you just never know what to trust nowadays..

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is so much being posted, and with technology getting better and making these photos look more and more real, it is very hard to establish what is real or not. I am sure there will come a time in which we have to be the ones taking the photo ourselves to know that it was a real event!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As long as it’s photoshopped pictures of animals, I’m not too bothered (although I myself never share these “sensational” pics precisely because I can’t be sure they are true), but when people start sharing stupid and clearly fake news aimed at spreading negative feelings towards certain groups (in Italy, it’s often “migrants”)…that’s when I really become sad for the society we now live in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah images manipulated or twisted for the media propaganda is a lot more damaging, however I am sure it works just as well for those spreading fake news. All we can do is make sure we are thinking independently and trying to view stories from all angles. It is hard though when we have to rely on others to do the covering of the stories!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I did a quick fact check on Google and it seems you are a just a computer bot generating auto-posts from buzz words.
    In other news I think my Google is broke!
    But seriously, by far the best way to avoid perpetuating fake news is to be original and not a sharer. If you have nothing to say silence sounds fantastic.
    And if in receipt of shared posts treat them the same way you would a joke heard down the pub. Sounds good in the moment and enjoy the entertainment but try to avoid passing it off as your own at work the next day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I can assure you that I don’t often post about things that are trending! I would rather be a blogger that tries to be more original than just purely share what is being shared, although I am sure there will be times when I would love to share something special that I have found online.
      There is nothing worse than someone trying to pull off a joke like it is there own too!

      Like

  5. It’s not just with pictures though, but right here on WordPress too, there are spam follows and spam commenters.
    I got about ten spam email follows, and just as I was going to remove them, I wake up one day to find them all gone. Unfollowed.
    Following that (no pun intended), I received comments from those very IDs. Convincing, until you get to the second line.
    These people would have you believe you’re the next Booker nomination! And they always comment on some aspect of your blog, content, speed, layout, etc.
    I was getting pretty tired of them getting past my spam filter, so for once, I hit reply!
    What followed was beautiful. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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