The Gallery of Fake Viral Images

Cheeseburger Oreos

A photo circulating on social media shows Cheeseburger Oreos. No, there is no such flavor. It's the latest in the "fake Oreo flavor" trend popular on social media.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015.   Comments (1)

140-year-old Tortoise Wears Son As Hat

The Internet claims that this image shows a 140-year-old tortoise wearing her 5-day-old son as a hat. Is this true or false?

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015.   Comments (0)

The All-Female Clockwork Oranges Gang

Were these women members of one of the most feared of all London's street gangs in the 1880's, a group of female toughs known as the Clockwork Oranges?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015.   Comments (2)

Nepal Quake Victims Photo

A widely shared photo has been identified as a young boy in Nepal comforting his sister following the deadly earthquake. But the photo was actually taken in Vietnam in 2007. more…

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015.   Comments (0)


Killer Whale Attacks Bear

Does this photo show a killer whale attacking a bear? No, it's just an April Fool photo hoax that's apparently still fooling some people.

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015.   Comments (0)

Lard From Live Pigs

Back in 1921, a widely reprinted story claimed that German farmers had developed a method of obtaining lard from live pigs by operating on the pigs to remove the rashers, then bandaging the pigs up and letting them heal. Supposedly the operation could be repeated three times a year. The story was actually a German April Fool's Day spoof that was mistaken by the American and British press for real news. more…

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015.   Comments (1)

Who is the Angel of Kobane?

A viral photo allegedly shows a female Kurdish soldier who's slain over 100 Islamic State fighters. But a Swedish journalist who actually met the woman in the photo says she's a former law student who volunteered with the home guard or police force of Kobane, and isn't a front-line fighter. Therefore it's unlikely she's killed huge numbers of the enemy. [BBC Trending]

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2014.   Comments (0)

Free U2 tape with every cassette player

On September 9, Apple gave away U2's new album, Songs of Innocence, as a free download for all 500 million iTunes users. However, the giveaway met with some backlash after iPhone users complained about the album downloading automatically, and many people who didn't want the album discovered it was difficult to delete, prompting Apple to set up a website providing instructions on how to delete the album. But was this the first time U2 had given away their music? An image posted to Twitter by user JamieDMJ showed an old technology catalog from the 1980s offering a "Free U2 tape with…

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

Fried Chicken Oreos

Fried Chicken Oreos are not a real thing. The photo of a bag of them that went viral this week was a fake. However, I don't think that the idea of Fried Chicken Oreos is inherently implausible. After all, chicken and waffles are definitely real (and very tasty). So 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, limeaid, orange ice cream, etc. So fried chicken flavor isn't that much of a stretch. However, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel checked with Weber Shandwick, who handle PR…

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014.   Comments (0)

Scary Emu

Seen circulating online with the caption "Just some friendly Australian wildlife". Of course, emus don't have teeth like that. Looks like someone added a row of shark's teeth to the bird. I believe the original image (below) comes from wikimedia commons.

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014.   Comments (3)

Surf Heart

Recently seen circulating on Twitter with the caption, "Heart glare reflection on the shores of Hawaii". The picture was taken in Hawaii. That's true. Waikiki beach, to be specific. But the 'heart glare reflection' isn't real. The photo is a manipulation created by DeviantArt user 'charmbuster' back in April 2008. He wrote: "an experiment... this is a slight photomanip, the shape was so close i had to make it a heart! (waikiki beach)" It's been floating around the Internet ever since 2008. Sometimes it's titled 'sea heart' or 'beach heart'. (via PicPedant)

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014.   Comments (0)

Frozen Venice

Trending recently on social media, a picture of "Venice Frozen". There hasn't been freezing weather recently in Venice. So yes, the picture is fake. Anyway, even if it did freeze in Venice, the ice there wouldn't look that clear blue. The photo is a composite created by Robert Johns. He posted it two weeks ago on his Instagram account. He created the image by taking ice from a photo of Lake Baikal (

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014.   Comments (1)

The Ultimate Houseboat

Found circulating online, as captioned in the title. Somewhat obviously photoshopped, particularly with the person jumping off the diving board at the front. But it's a cool idea. I believe the image originates from the site of Bolig Partner, a Norwegian home construction firm, which is urging people to "Realize your dream home in the New Year!" The ship itself is a VARD Offshore Subsea Construction Vessel. The house which was digitally placed on the ship's helipad comes from an image on the site of Ultimalt, a Norwegian paint company.

Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014.   Comments (1)

Is the “Hercules the World’s Biggest Dog” photo fake, as everyone has assumed?

This photo of "Hercules, the World's Biggest Dog" is one of the best known "hoax" viral images on the Web. It started circulating in early 2007, initially on its own, but soon the Internet had supplied an explanatory caption: Hercules: The World's Biggest Dog Ever According to Guinness World Records Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. With "paws the size of softballs" (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger…

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014.   Comments (7)

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 — 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. I suppose that name is supposed to tip you off that the site is like The Onion, or aspires to be. But it's not The Onion. It's a lightly braised turnip instead. A few months ago a giant squid really did wash ashore in Spain,…

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

Long Exposure Photo of a Tree Struck by Lightning

The internet seems to believe this is a "long exposure photo of a lightning bolt hitting a tree." It's not. Well, it is a long exposure shot, but not of lightning. It's a photo created by "light painter" Darren Pearson (aka Darius Twin). Wikipedia defines light painting as "a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera." Pearson light painted the blue flames at the base of the tree. He then cut-and-pasted the lightning bolt itself into the photo from a NOAA image of a lightning strike (below). Pearson posted the…

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014.   Comments (4)

Fireworks over Europe

As 2013 ended and 2014 began, this photo started circulating online, along with the claim that it showed a satellite's view of the fireworks over Europe at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. But no, that's not what this photo shows. For a start, Europe isn't all in the same time zone, so the fireworks didn't go off all at the same moment. Second, fireworks wouldn't have created such intense illumination. The image was actually created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shows changes in illumination from 1993-2003. Sciencephoto.com offers this…

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014.   Comments (0)

Lottery winner meets love of his life, two days after the big win

This is one of those fake viral images that you'd think everyone would recognize immediately to be a joke. And yet, quite a few people seem to take it seriously, such as the people on this reddit thread where it was recently posted. The woman is the Swedish actress, singer, and glamour model Natacha Peyre. The guy next to her remains unidentified. He's probably just a fan that she agreed to pose for a photo with. According to reports, Peyre has been dating Swedish pop singer Dhani Lennevald for a number of years, and he's not the guy in the photo, nor is he a $181 million lottery…

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014.   Comments (1)

What happens when lightning strikes sand

In June 2013, the image below started to circulate online. It was launched into viral status after being posted on Reddit, where it was captioned, "This is what happens when lightning strikes sand." When lightning strikes sand, it can form fulgurites, which are also known as "lightning tubes" or "petrified lightning". Tonya Clayton offers a good, one-sentence explanation of what these are: "If the in-ground moisture content is just right, the sand melts and fuses, forming beautiful glassy tubes whose branches record the lightning's path." -How to read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach Is…

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2013.   Comments (0)

Jennifer Aniston Gets A Buzzcut

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, "My character gets to this really broken point, and [director] Daniel [Schechter] and I thought it would make her more realistic." But actually, the photo was the site's April Fool joke. It had doctored an image of Aniston (below) taken while she was attending the 2006 premiere of Friends with Money. But demonstrating the…

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2013.   Comments (0)

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