Think Before You Retweet: How to Spot a Fake Storm Photo

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While it's one of our favorite ways to track the storm, the thing about following Sandy via photos on the Internet is that, like a lot of things online, there is a high chance of encountering a fake. Maybe it's because of our desire for attention, or because of Instagram, but this recycling and forging of storm porn has been a thing for awhile. This one that went around during Isaac has been circling the webs since 2005, according to the Florida station Bay News 9. And today is no different, with a lot of impostors posing as legitimate images. So you don't look like that tool who Facebook likes something so obviously not real, we are here to help you sift through the fiction. 

So Good It Was Photoshopped

The Image in Question: Statue of Liberty about to get Apocalypse Now-ed.

Why We Want to Believe It's Real: We have a big storm coming to New York City today, so it's possible that someone grabbed this incredible shot of the cloud moving in just before Sandy's arrival. Also, with nature about to eat the Statue of Liberty, we get some symbolism out of this one. 

Why It's Totally Fake: It's unbelievable because it didn't happen, as we learn from Deep down, you knew this couldn't be real. The sky has been cloudy in New York for days, this storm was as slow buil.d This is a Photoshop job that superimposed that part of New York with the Nebraska Tornado below. 

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The PR Grab

The Image in Question: American heroes being heroic at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Why We Want to Believe It's Real: Because: what a story, right? Feeling the same way, the U.S. Army posted this on its Facebook page this morning, suggesting that those soldiers right there are out there today guarding the tomb, even in this dangerous storm. In addition to the sentiment, it's just a lovely photo, with good lighting and enough rain to make us feel horrible for those men, but also patriotic.

Why It's Totally Fake: Well, the photo is too lovely, it turns out. The original image came from this photography website and was uploaded in September of this year. The U.S. Army chose the one above because the heavy sheet rain drives the point home more than the actual photo from today, which doesn't look as unfortunate as the one above. 

Looks Like It's From a Movie Because It Is 

The Image in Question: Nature meets Freedom. 

Why We Want to Believe It's Real: Again, the symbolism is just too perfect. 

Why It's Totally Fake: That's because it is from a movie trying to make a point. This still comes from The Day After Tomorrow, the science fiction movie where we see the scary consequences of climate change realized. Kind of like the fictional movie version of today

The Generic That Could Be From Any Storm Photo

The Image in Question: Things are about to get dark. 

Why We Want to Believe It's Real: Because it's pretty and we love storm porn.

Why It's Totally Fake: This photo is too generic, and also too pretty. Sandy isn't the easiest storm on the eyes. She's much grayer today than an out of the blue thunderstorm where ominous cloud like that swoop in on a sunny day. This is from one of those kinds of weather moments, uploaded to the Getty servers way back in 2009. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.