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Fake News: Fake Videos and Images

LibGuide on identifying fake news

Videos and images can be altered to mislead and misinform the public, just like text-based sources can.  Unfortunately, social media has proliferated this trend as many people fall for these dubious pieces of media.


"Deepfakes are doctored videos that use artificial intelligence technology to make a seemingly real video of something that didn't really happen." - Donna Mignardi and Jennifer Sturge, Calvert County Public Schools, Prince Frederick, Md.

Some tactics deepfake videos use:

  • Faceswap - When the face of a person is inserted onto someone else's body, making it appear that this person was at a specific location when they were not
  • Lipsync - When a mouth is grafted onto someone else's face and animated to make it look as though they are speaking.  Audio is overlaid to create the appearance of a speaking person 
  • Facial reenactment - transferring facial expressions from one person to another; essentially, animating someone's face to make it look like they are showing certain emotion

Seeing Isn't Believing - Washington Post guide to manipulated video

Is That Video Real? - CNN explains how to spot fake videos


Reverse Image Searches

You can use certain search engines to do what is called a 'reverse image search'.  This is when you search by copy/pasting or uploading a preexisting image.  This is a good research strategy if you have an image that you think may have been altered or cropped to exclude information.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the little camera icon in the search box
  3. Copy/paste or upload your image

After you search by image, you will find:

  • A possible text-based related search
  • Similar images
  • Pages that include matching images

If you click on 'news' or 'all', instead of staying in images:

You can see the dates of each webpage and when the image was posted.  This can help you better understand where the image originated from, and to compare it from an earlier date to see if it has changed.



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