Multiple people on my timeline recently shared the photo of Donald Trump and famous pedophile Jeffrey Epstein on a plane, shown below, which is a fake:
How do I know it’s fake?
As soon as I saw this, I was suspicious. Why? Because while I’ve seen other photos of Trump and Epstein together — as well as photos of Epstein with the Clintons — I’d never seen this one before. Why would it be appearing now?
Snopes used a photo analyzer on it and said there was a 99% chance it was AI-generated, using a tool called Midjourney.
Plus, Epstein’s legs look a little weird.
If you want to believe it, be wary
Unscrupulous deceivers know a photo like this will spread. It’s been shared thousands of times now, including by the actor Mark Ruffalo.
Calls for social media sites to block such sharing are insufficient. Detecting fakes isn’t easy or foolproof, and many legitimate photos including some photo editing. The onus remains on you.
If a photo confirms what you want to believe, be especially wary. These are the moments when your guard is down.
If there is no source or the source is questionable, be skeptical. Actors and other celebrities are no more credible than other uniformed citizens. Some politicians aren’t that careful about what they share, either.
Don’t justify your credulity (“Everyone already knows he did it,” “Why does it matter that this is fake, we’ve seen similar photos,” etc.) The fact that it helps or hurts a candidate in line with your beliefs doesn’t change whether its a fraud.
Trust established news sources and fact checkers. Searching to verify is easy.
An educated citizenry and meticulous media are the best defense against fakery. Believe what is proven to be true, not what you hope to be true.