Photoshop undesirable state of affairs: when is it real?

With today’s advanced technology it can be virtually impossible to tell a real image from a Photoshopped one. When it comes to fashion or celebrities, a missing hand or leg may be the reason for laughter. But, Photoshop has had a much higher impact in our lives than just a few good laughs.

In 2006 the Reuters news agency released a digitally manipulated photograph as an authentic image of the bombing in Beirut which draw attention to the important topic of bias in the media.

This is dangerous territory. If this happens enough, after a while people will begin to expect this particular form of media to mislead them, which is undoubtedly an undesirable state of affairs.

The four  most common types of journalistic photographic fraud are:

1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.

2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.

3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.

4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.

After the Reuters scandal, media vehicles around the world now follow an ethics manual and, in some countries, the manipulation of journalistic photography has turned into a crime.

One might argue that this is a separate category of standards, that otherwise pictures of models and celebrities are harmless. Think again. In April, 2011, a Facebook Photoshop app scam lured 600.000 users with fake photos.

A user will receive a spammy message from a friend that reads, “hey, i just made a Photoshop of you,” and includes a link that brings the user to an application installation window. The app asks for access to your Facebook information (name, gender, photo, networks, lists of friends, user ID, and more), as well as access to your Facebook Chat.

If you click “Allow,” you are taken to a site that displays photoshopped images of people’s faces on animals’ bodies, the Register reports. Meanwhile, the newly installed application spams your Facebook friends via Chat.

M86 Security Labs reports that 88,000 people per hour have clicked on these links. The Register estimates that by 5 a.m. EST, over 600,000 profile have fallen victim to this viral threat.

“At this point, we do not know what the end game is for the scammers here,” writes M86 Security Labs. “The destination site results in no malicious infection and does not lead to a survey scam. Having access to a users’ Facebook Chat could allow the scam application to be used to send out other messages.”

In another instance, Daryl Simon pulled off a lot of scams, but a Photoshop one to reduce his sentence, was not the sort of thing he could do. Simon presented a court with photos of himself helping physical therapy patients with rehab exercises.

But if your Photoshop is bad, a prosecutor quickly realised that there was something odd. Simon altered the photos and even used the same image of himself in several of them. He’ll be spending 24 years in prison. We’re not sure if he’ll take the time to perfect Photoshop then.

These may be considered harmless examples, if you disregard the fact they were aimed at fooling you. If anything, laugh a little:

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