25 Viral Photos That Turned Out To Be Fake

Posted by , Updated on January 18, 2024

You can’t believe everything you see online. These days photoshop makes it easier than ever to tweak images and make things seem like something they’re not. Just take a look at these 25 viral photos that turned out to be fake.


People in China have to watch the sunrise on a screen because of the smog

viral facts

Although this screen in Tiananmen Square does show a sunrise, it is only part of a commercial and it plays year round whether there is heavy smog or not.


This Syrian boy is sleeping between the graves of his parents

viral facts

This photo was actually part of an art project by 25-year-old Abdul Aziz al-Otaibi from Saudi Arabia. He wanted to show how a child’s love for his parents is eternal. According to him it has nothing to do with the humanitarian crisis in Syria.


This man was making death masks for soldiers in World War I

viral facts

While he was making masks, they are actually for soldiers who survived the war with serious facial deformations.


These purple trees surround the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

viral facts

Actually, these trees were photographed in New Zealand and then photoshopped (original on the right).


This is a picture of the northern lights in Alaska

viral facts

As you can see on the right, this photo is actually the Orion Nebula mashed together with some mountains. Deviant art member Jeddaka is resp0nsable for this one.


This tourist took a picture right before the plane hit on 9/11 and someone found his camera

viral facts

There are so many thing wrong with this photo that it was known to be a hoax almost right away (wrong airline, wrong direction, etc). It wasn’t until a little later though that Péter Guzli of Hungary was identified as the one in the photo and he admitted it was a hoax.


The Romney/Money sign

viral facts

In real life they managed to spell the name right. Some trickster just switched the “m” and the “o”.


This is a picture of 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

viral facts

No it’s not. It’s a picture of the Chilean coastline with some waves photoshopped in.


Someone took a picture while Air France flight 447 was breaking up over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009

viral facts

In reality this is just a scene from the TV show Lost.


This is what the statue of liberty looked like during Hurricane Sandy

viral facts

Nope, this is what the Statue of Liberty looked like during the film The Day After Tomorrow, because that’s exactly where this picture was taken from.


In 1914 a boy went to war and left his bike leaning against a tree

viral facts

Somebody did leave their bike leaning against a tree but it wasn’t in 1914. It was in 1950, his name was Don Puz, and he never went to war.


The moon/star island combo

viral facts

In reality this is a picture of the Hawaiian island of Molokini (the crescent). The star was added in via photoshop.


This baby's foot is pushing out of its mother's belly

viral facts

The truth is that this would be physically impossible. There are too many layers of muscle between the inside of the uterus and the outside of the abdomen.


This is amazing multicolored snake was just discovered!

viral facts

Sorry to bust your bubble but the real photo is on the right.


This mystical tree is found in...insert name of exotic location in Africa/Asia here

viral facts

No, no, no! It’s a tree in Disney World, Florida. And it’s not even real.


This moon melon grows in Japan and it changes flavors when you eat it

viral facts

There is no such thing as a moon melon, blue watermelon, or any melon that changes flavors. This is just a regular melon that was photoshopped.


This is a picture of the moon rise in Sequoia National Park in California

viral facts

So this photo actually duped quite a few people but guess what? It’s not in California! In fact, it’s not even in North America! It’s in France, and the moon was photoshopped in…as usual.


This early color photograph shows civil war soldiers leaning against a tank

viral facts

What’s next? George Washington in the cockpit of a F-16? Once again, this picture actually managed to fool some reputable history related twitter accounts.


This is what an eclipse looks like from space

viral facts

Well, it may be, but this photo is actually just a rendering created by Deviant art user A4size-ska.


This is what India looks like from space on Diwali Night

viral facts

Actually, this is a false color composite taken of India over the course of a decade that shows how light distribution changed over time. Still pretty cool though!


This is what a Koala looks like when it is wet

viral facts

Sort of. The jaw is actually that of a dog though.


Steven Seagal gives Putin bunny ears!

viral facts

Nope, didn’t happen. The fingers were just photoshopped in.


This pilot is taking a selfie mid-flight

viral facts

Yeah right. There’s more than one thing wrong with this photo but the bottom line is that this has never happened.


This is what Los Angeles looked like during the blackout in 1994

viral facts

This photo is actually a composite made by photographer Thierry Cohen who makes such photos of various cities showing what the night sky might look like if all the lights went out. Although there were more stars visible during the blackout it was nothing like this. The stories were most likely fueled by rumors that some people called 9-1-1 to report strange lights in the sky. Apparently somebody thinks Angelenos need to get out more!


This is what the supermoon looks like over Rio de Janeiro

viral facts

Once again, the moon was just pasted in. And once again, people actually fell for it.