6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

The internet is filled with plenty of photo fakery. And we here at Factually are here to help you distinguish the true from the too-good-to-be. Today we have six more images you may have seen floating around recently. None of them is precisely what it claims to be.

1) Is this a Soviet-era beach?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

The image above has been passed around with the caption, "Many old Soviet photos look like science fiction film posters." Unfortunately, it would indeed be more appropriate for a sci-fi movie poster, because it's a fake.

The beach scene is actually from Copacabana Beach in Brazil. As for the space age building towering above? That's the National Library of Belarus, opened in 2006, which is notably nowhere near a beach. Below, a proper photo of the library.

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

Fake image via JoushaFoust; Real beach image via Brazil Travel Guide; Real Library image via Wikimedia


2) Is this the first selfie ever taken?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

No, this isn't the first selfie ever taken, despite what some internet history sites insist. Not by a long shot. They're real photos from around 1920 submitted by a Quora user, purportedly of his grandfather and friends. But they're not the first selfies.

Here in the early 21st century we seem obsessed with what is and is not considered a selfie. The word alone evokes a "get off my lawn, you damn kids" reaction in so many people, and some cultural commentators even insist it's a sign of our increasingly narcissistic times. But self-portraits are as old as photography itself.

Below, a photo of the December 1920 photograph in question with some more context on the left, and a much older "selfie" taken by Robert Cornelius dating back to 1839 on the right.

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

Misleading image description via ClassicPixs; Robert Cornelius selfie from 1839 via Public Domain Review


3) Will Mars and the moon appear to be the same size on August 27th?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

If you look up into the night sky tomorrow will you see Mars appear as large as the moon? Sadly, no. This dumb hoax is passed around nearly every year, often with the promise that no one alive today has ever seen this phenomenon and that it won't happen again for hundreds of years. It's obviously bullshit (and raises the question of why Mars would suddenly look exactly like the moon?) but sometimes even the most obvious bullshit needs to be called out to help stop it from spreading online. Ignore this one in your Facebook feeds today.

Fake image via HempandHerb


4) Is this a New York City traffic jam in 1909?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

Poor Chicago; always the Second City to New York's fame. Even in history, Chicago can't seem to get its due. Like in this photo that's getting passed around on Imgur, Reddit, and Twitter, purporting to show a New York City traffic jam in 1909. It's actually from Chicago. Specifically, at the intersection of Dearborn and Randolph. A colorized postcard version of the image appears on the right.

A minor correction in the grand scheme of things? Sure. But a necessary one as incredibly popular Twitter accounts like HistoryInPics continue to amass thousands of followers (that one alone is up to 1.8 million total), and continue spreading misinformation.

Inaccurate photo description via HistoryInPics; Black and white image via Chicago Past; Color postcard via Connecting the Windy City


5) Is this a KKK member treated by an all-black emergency room staff?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

No, this photo of an emergency room filled with black doctors and nurses saving a member of the KKK isn't real. As Snopes discovered, it's from a series of staged photos which ran as a magazine ad campaign that was ostensibly about restoring faith in humanity. Or something.

However, throughout history there have been plenty of cases of idiotic hate-mongers being saved and protected by the people they hate. The photo below of a black woman in 1996 defending a white supremacist from being physically beaten is real. Keshia Thomas used her body as a human shield to protect a suspected KKK sympathizer at a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

Inaccurate photo description via RocketNews24; Real photo via AP


6) Is this a photo of the Supermoon?

6 More Viral Photos That Are Total Lies

Nothing brings out the photoshopped landscapes quite like supermoon hype. No, the photo above isn't real. Even the real "supermoon" isn't that impressive to the naked eye. A supermoon occurs when the moon is about 6 percent closer to Earth than average. Not a big deal—it happens three times this year alone—and not enough to make images like the photo above without a heavy dose of photoshop.

And if it helps give you some perspective on the science-full-ness of the entire supermoon concept, remember that the term was supposedly coined by an astrologer, not an astronomer.

Fake image via Stephen Stanton


Factually is Gizmodo's new blog of fun facts, interesting photos, and weird trivia. Join us on Twitter and Facebook.