The internet is being increasingly populated with false, misleading, manipulated videos, spread by politicians and advocacy groups as well as regular Joes. Video footage is being altered three main ways: either by being taken out of context, deceptively edited, or deliberately altered. Here’s a breakdown on these misleading practices to help you better determine whether what you’re looking at seems legit.
MISREPRESENTATION: An unaltered video is presented in an inaccurate manner, misrepresenting the footage and misleading the viewer. Using incorrect dates or locations are examples of subverting context.
ISOLATION: A brief clip is shared from a longer video to create a false narrative that doesn’t accurately reflect the actual event as it occurred. Point-of-view video also promotes only one angle of a story.
OMISSION: Editing out large portions of a video and presenting it as a complete narrative, despite missing key elements, in order to skew reality.
SPLICING: Editing together dissimilar videos to fundamentally alter the story that’s being told.
DOCTORING: Altering frames of a video by cropping, changing speed, using Photoshop, dubbing audio, or adding/deleting visual information to deceive the viewer.
FABRICATION: Using computer-generated images to simulate audio and swap out background pictures. This includes deepfakes and other synthetic media.
When viewing a video, ask yourself: did this come from a source I can trust? If not, view it with a grain of salt. To spot a fake, look for signs such as a person never blinking, shimmering around the edges of their face, or the background shifting in an unusual way.
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