Putting out the wildfire of misinformation spreading via social media

Posted at 9:05 PM, Nov 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-05 23:14:33-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - You may have seen a lot of pictures of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy on Facebook and Twitter last week, but how can you tell if those pictures are the real deal?

CBS 6 found multiple pictures that were spread on social media that were confirmed to be either fabricated or from different scenarios.

Jeff South is a professor of journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University and he came to the studio today with advice on how to become  more "social media literate."
Just as there are more ways than ever before for online pranksters to fool us into believing these images are real, there are also more tools than ever before to catch them out.

The below tips were from the Sydney Morning Herald: 

1. Google image search

  • Go to
  • Type in the URL of the image, or simply drag and drop it there
  • Google will show you other instances of that image that have been published on the web

2. TinEye reverse image search

  • Go to
  • Upload the image or type in the URL of the image
  • Similar to Google, TinEye will reveal where that image has appeared previously on the web

3. Ask

  • Before you retweet, like or share the image, ask the person if they took the photo themselves
  • If they didn't, ask where they got it, and check out the source for yourself