Evaluating Photos & Videos: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information #7

Evaluating Photos & Videos: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information #7


Hi I’m John Green, and this is Crash Course:
Navigating Digital Information. So, images are incredibly powerful to human
brains. Like, I read and loved the first four Harry
Potter books before seeing a Harry Potter movie. And I really liked the movie, but after watching
it, I could never see my Harry Potter or Hermione ever again–I saw only Daniel Radcliffe and
Emma Watson. And also I learned that Hermione is pronounced
Hermione. And not Her-mee-own. They say a picture is worth a thousand words
— and by “they” I mean the advertiser who supposedly coined that idiom in the 1940s. Photographs in particular feel real and objective
to us, because they seem to capture a moment of reality. More than 150 years ago, Matthew Brady’s
iconic Civil War photographs were often staged, for instance, his assistants would move corpses
and change their postures to maximize the images’ visual power. But while images have never been as reliable
as they seem, this is especially true in the era of photoshop. In fact, consider the image you’re looking
at right now. That flower is not actually here. If you spend as much time online as I do,
you spend a lot of it looking at images. Sometimes those images are unedited, although
even then choices are made–how to frame the image, what to photograph, when and how to
share it. Other times, the images are obviously altered
with bunny ear filters or meme text. Sometimes images are altered in ways meant
to fool us. So how can we decipher what’s real and what’s
not? Well It’s easy! You can tell by looking at the pixels. Meredith says that meme is so old that nobody
is going to get the joke. OK. Roll the intro. [intro] So far during this series we’ve talked about
how important it is to find out who’s behind information we learn online, why they’re
posting it, and whether the evidence is reliable. And thanks to their power, images are a very
common form of online evidence. But just like data or text, image-based evidence
can be relevant and reliable or irrelevant and unreliable. In order to make sense of our online surroundings
it is critical to think carefully about whether image-based evidence is trustworthy because
we’re used to thinking that “seeing is believing.” I means, special effects-laden movies are
popular in part because they are so visually thrilling–even though we know they aren’t
real, they look real, or at least adjacent to real. That is why, for instance, I found all five
transformers films completely watchable despite their lack of … you know, plot, character
and comprehensible worldbuilding and etc. They also have that Shia LeBouef in them. He’s a fascinating character. Don’t do it Stan. DON’T. Oh. Hello Shia. So, in movies, filmmakers depend partly on
our ability to get lost in images–when we watch a conversation between two people in
a film, for instance, we rarely consider that forty-five minutes elapsed between this shot
and this one, because the camera and lights had to be moved. The willingness of the human brain to assume
that images are real is consistently manipulated by filmmakers, but also by other people. Consider, for instance, this manipulated picture
of mass shooting survivor and activist Emma Gonzalez. It’s doctored to make her look like she
was tearing up the U.S. Constitution instead of the real picture she took with a gun-range
target. Or this one of President Trump supporters
whose shirts were digitally altered to read “Make America White Again” instead of
their actual “Make America Great Again” shirts. But images don’t have to be altered to fools
us, though. Sometimes bad actors use real, untouched photos
but falsify their context. And that can have really serious consequences. For instance, this image of an election in
Mexico in 2017 circulated online as a meme claiming undocumented immigrants were voting
in the nonexistent town of Battsville, Arizona. Or this image of children sleeping in what
looks like a cage at a detention facility for undocumented children in 2014. It was circulated widely in 2018 as controversy
grew over policies for separating undocumented migrant children and parents at the U.S. border. Although the conditions were similar for many
of the children being held in 2018, when the photo went viral it was unaccompanied by its
original context: the date. And then once this mistake was revealed, it
was used by many to dismiss the entire controversy as “fake news.” A study by the Stanford History Education
Group has shown just how easy it can be for people to let images and their context go
unchallenged. So, as you know from previous episodes, the
Stanford History Education Group is affiliated with this series. They developed MediaWise, which is what this
series is based on. Anyway, during the Stanford History Education
Group study, they showed 170 high school students a photo from Imgur of these weird looking
flowers. The photo’s caption claimed that the flowers
had “nuclear birth defects.” Fukushima was in the photo title, implying
they were from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Despite no evidence that the photo actually
showed these effects, or that radiation caused the mutations, over 80 percent of the students
did not question the source of the photo. There wasn’t even any evidence to show the
photo was taken in Japan! In reality, these daisies are most likely
the victims of a genetic mutation called “fascination” that isn’t related to nuclear radiation
in any way. Bottom line: nature is really wild all by
herself. I mean, do I need to bring back the picture
of the star-nosed mole? I do. Because it’s so easy to turn images into
manipulation machines, when you encounter a suspicious image online, it’s crucial
to investigate who is behind it and whether they are a reliable source. We also must look for context, to be sure
an image supports the claim being made. Does the story, blog, or social media post
where you encountered the image provide a link? Great! Click it. If you can get a reliable explanation of that
photo and where it came from. That can help you know if the image is reliable. Is a caption provided? Use your lateral reading skills to determine
whether the context surrounding the image is accurate. But if the source sharing the photo doesn’t
provide any context, or they provide a caption, but no other reason to find that information
credible, then maybe you can’t trust it. But, there are online tools you can use to
hunt down an image’s origin story. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. OK, so it’s raining hard in your hometown
and you just got one of those startling flash flood warnings on your phone. So you hop online to find the latest weather
report and a friend has reposted this in your news feed. Just saw this on the highway. Be careful out there, friends. Oh my god, there’s a shark swimming around
the floodwaters in your town. That’s certainly terrifying — if it’s
true. Before sharing it with anyone else you want
to be sure that it is. Your friend hasn’t provided any other context
or tagged the photo’s location or anything. She hasn’t said whether she took it or someone
else did, and isn’t responding to your texts. So it’s time to do a Google reverse image
search. Quick reminder: Google is one of our sponsors
for this series, but we also think they have the strongest reverse image search engine. If you’re looking for an alternative, TinEye
is another popular one. Right, so, if you’re using their Chrome
browser, you can right click on an image and select “Search Google for image.” If you’re using a different browser, you
can right click on an image and copy its URL. Then you paste the URL into the search window
at images.google.com. Whoa there — the search results for this
shark photo are full of fact-checking sites saying that this photo is a viral hoax. It seems this photoshopped image makes the
rounds every time there is a hurricane or huge flood. The shark has been “spotted” in Puerto
Rico during Hurricane Irene, Florida during Hurricane Irma, in Texas during Hurricane
Harvey, New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy, and in North Carolina during floods in 2015. What a shark! The original photo of this shark was captured
in its natural habitat, off the coast of South Africa. But after someone photoshopped it into a highway
setting, plenty of social media posts have cited the
image as “evidence” over the years. Thanks, Thought Bubble. You can use reverse image searches to check
in on all kinds of photos. Using what you know about finding reliable
sources, you can then track down whether an image has originated with a trustworthy source
or whether it’s only been distributed on unreliable sites. And you can turn to fact checking organizations
like Snopes and Politifact which are really great at hunting down these hoaxes. And then there’s videos, which can be just
as powerful as images when it comes to providing evidence. Unfortunately, they can also be used to mislead. For instance, a carefully edited clip can
misrepresent how an event actually happened or what someone actually said. At least according to every villain on every
reality TV show ever, that’s the entire genre of reality TV. It was just the /editing/ that made it /look/
like you were awkwardly breaking up with your fiancée on national television, Arie. But also, unedited videos can be posted alongside
inaccurate information that claims footage depicts one event when it really shows something
completely different. Like this clip of me saying “I have messed
it up a lot in the past, hence, part of my aforementioned nervousness.” Now as it happens, that was about communicating
news to fans about my books being adapted into movies. But it could be applied and adapted to other
things, for instance, if someone said I was talking about writing my books. Or my taste in Polo shirts, which is excellent
by the way. You’d only understand what I was talking
about if you saw the whole clip, but in another context it could be almost anything you want
it to be. There is no text without context. And videos can also be dramatically altered,
too. We don’t always think of videos as easy
to change — maybe by skilled filmmakers, but not in the same way that we can easily
use filters to alter our Instagrams. But, if you’ve ever seen an episode of Bad
Lip Reading, you’ll know that it’s getting easier and easier to considerably alter a
video, or even fabricate one from scratch. And uploading and posting videos has never
been easier. Almost anyone with an internet connection
can do it. That’s why it’s important to know where
a video came from, and who created it, and whether it’s been altered before you believe
what you see. But the type of manipulated video that freaks
me out personally the most is the deepfake. Deep fake uses deep learning and artificial
intelligence to create video images that can be combined and superimposed onto existing
videos. So, for example, Nicholas Cage’s face can
be grafted onto other actors’ faces to create some really funny movie mashups. Or, an impersonator can have their voice and
facial movements convincingly woven into the video of a president. BuzzFeed, for instance, once made a video
of President Obama saying things like “Killmonger was right” to illustrate how deepfakes work. And this is happening more and more. The Belgian socialist party once created a
video of President Trump saying “climate change is fake.” They said they weren’t trying to dupe anyone,
but lots of commenters on the party’s Facebook page did not know it wasn’t real. Now you can certainly gain clues about a video’s
validity by checking the source. Is it an anonymous YouTube channel? A stranger on Facebook? Or a news source you trust? But to determine for sure whether videos like
these are real or fake, we need to read laterally. Or watch laterally, I suppose. Either way, open up a new tab and try to find
where the video originally came from. You might be able to do this by using a keyword
search based on the content of the video to see where it surfaces. Like, in the case of the videos I just mentioned
we could’ve searched Obama and Killmonger or Trump, Belgium, and climate change. And if the video you’re searching depicts
an important event of some kind, you might find it posted on several news sites. Or if it’s a known hoax, it may show up
on fact-checking sites. And if the only place you find the video is
on dubious sites or random social media posts, it’s probably bogus. But look, as technology advances and changing
photos and videos gets easier and easier, there will be more and more deep fakes, and
it will be much harder to tell them apart from reality. That freaks me out, and it’s a reminder
of how critical it is, especially for young people, to learn how to evaluate the quality
of information they encounter online. Because without using our lateral reading
skills, and looking for additional context for images we encounter, we risk being duped
by bad actors spreading misinformation. And as I’ve talked about before, when the
quality and reliability of our information decreases, the quality and reliability of
our decisions also decreases. So that’s why we’re going to continue
learning how to interrogate different types of evidence next time. I’ll see you then.

100 thoughts on “Evaluating Photos & Videos: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information #7”

  1. That fake Trump video was so obviously fake I can't believe anyone would believe it. It looked like one of those videos where someone else's mouth is crudely superimposed over the mouth of an existing video, so crudely that it seems to be floating in the general vicinity of where their mouth should be but is clearly not actually attached.

  2. I learned how Hermione is pronounced from the books, there's a scene when Ron talks with his mouth full and says "Er-my-knee"

  3. My big worry concerning deep fakes is that there will be a "forty-seven percent" hidden camera style video deep fake. A video that the subject would deny being in because of the potential damage but, when the technology gets good enough, how are we going to tell the difference?

  4. I just want to say as a parent, this series is amazing. It articulates exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to the kids. But I have to strongly disagree about the transformers movies.

  5. John: How do we decipher what is real and what is not?…
    Me: You can tell by the pixels hahahah! (actually laughing)
    John: …well it's easy you can tell by the pixels. Meredith says that meme is so old no one is going to get the joke.
    Me: feeling old intensifies

  6. I think in 20 years, kids are going to be floored to learn there was a time when you could reasonably assume any photo or video was just true at face value.

  7. I love this series and I thank you all for taking the time to help us learn how to find truth in this ever more complicated digital world.

  8. I don`t know if I was this much evil, but I`m thinking about making manipulative article after seeing that making a fake news is easy. sorry

  9. What disappoints me about this video is that I thought we were in for some honest to christ learnin'. How to spot a fake — cool! But ultimately, the lesson is "use common sense, stupid!" Whammp-whammp.

  10. Snopes lost 100% of their credibility for me when they fact-checked a meme. as in someone photoshopped something as a joke, and posted it on their own page which posts nothing but photoshopped jokes, and snopes fact-checked the joke, which ultimately got him banned on twitter, and if you do not believe me, It's still on snopes. Just look up "Monster energy ham". When that happened, I lost all trust in snopes, because they cannot tell fiction from reality.

  11. I tried to get my Grandma to read laterally, and she said she didn’t need to, although it was a good idea. She also thinks she’s an alien, along with other stuff.

  12. Two things: thank GOD someone else pronounced Hermione's name that way, and I absolutely got the pixel counting meme, I don't care if that makes me old, it was a fine meme.

  13. The "especially young people" part was patronizing and I'm not sure they are the biggest concern when it comes to discerning the quality of information. Many of the issues and, in the example of Pizzagate, potential lethal situations created by bad/misleading information has to do with old and middle people.

  14. Wait a minute! In the fourth book, Hermione explains to Victor Krum how to pronounce it (I remember because it came as quite a shock to my father who read them aloud to us in Swedish, and had up until then pronounced it "HermiÅne"). You mustn't have been a very attentive reader. This discredits you as an authority on navigating information, and here I was trusting you blindly.

  15. I hope there's an episode that covers what to do when the evidence for something is fuzzier. Like, there's lots of fairly reliable sources on it with mostly reliable sources they have, and most of the evidence against it is absolutely unreliable, but there's also some questionable stuff for it.

  16. I hope he does an episode that talks about dating sites.
    I would say the bulk of profiles there are fake/scammers.
    Reverse image searching is an easy way to identify a lot of them.
    Depending on the site, some of them are happy to have them there.

  17. Just watch the new when it starts talking about global warming you will see plenty of fake news. You just have to do your own investigation and use common sense,The problem is people are so easily brainwashed especially the younger ones.

  18. I figured out how to pronounce "Hermione" from the Chamber of Secrets. There's a scene where Ron has a mouthful of food and the book gives a rough phonetic breakdown of how it's pronounced.

  19. I was waiting for a “many shops in my time” meme from the start, and I was rewarded within 90 seconds. Am I old? Is just-about-to-turn-29 old?!

  20. 11:00 You should fairly easily be able to run the video through a program that checks for the fingerprints of deepfake manipulation. Heck Youtube should do that automatically and show a warning label on videos that are detected as having been edited.

  21. I wish this series included a video or at least a mention about meta fake news, which is when someone shares a very obvious fake image for instance, arguing someone else is trying and not succeeding to fool others.

  22. I will trust Snopes before anything from Google.. I have Google News on my homepage Computer they are terrible liars!! I loved this video opened my eyes to so much of the Baloney I see on FB!!

  23. Thank you for sharing the Killmonger bit.

    Hadn't even heard of it and more people should be in fear of/laughing at it/however you're supposed to emotionally react, lol.

    Like, yes, terrifying, but I needed that. Thank you, deepfake tech? Humans will always scare me more than sticks, but humans AND sticks is just; Yes, I'm scared of every single stick now.

    Humans made them into clubs and etc.

  24. We are already in era where there is no way to tell if a picture or a video is real. Lateral reading does not always lead to a conclusion, as it is possible to have no evidence of authenticity or vice versa. Fake news, fake pictures, fake videos, gaslighting and other malicious activities regarding the subject (of reliability) are also so popular, that one can only refrain from making crucial conclusions from internet (or other) content, that is not well known as facts by the public. So 1. chill 2. check 3. if not confident of reliability, ignore

  25. Even if you only read the Harry Potter books, you should know how to pronounce Hermione because she explains how it is pronounced in book 4.

  26. I knew you were going to make the pixels meme joke the second this started and I'm so grateful. One of the best. ((25 year old))

  27. This is quickly becoming my favorite CrashCourse series ever! Not only is it really useful, but each episode seems to be building upon the previous ones in a way that makes it really easy to remember what we've learned. I only wish I could have had this when I was taking AP Lang & Comp 8 years ago…Thank you so much, and keep up the great work!

  28. “I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital [chemical attack] scene was staged.” ~ Riam Dalati, a well-known BBC producer

  29. i rely on reverse image search a lot and definitely do NOT believe google's is the best. it does reasonably well, but yandex's reverse image search is far better, for reasons that i don't entirely understand.

  30. Please let John Green do world history again! I miss him doing world history. I could see him very passionate about doing history. I miss the old John Green!!!

  31. I am surprised you didn't know how to pronounce Hermione; I know most people don't but I'd have expected you to from Shakespeare. Also, I think you have the timeline of your experience a bit wrong because if you read the fourth book before seeing a movie you should have learned how to pronounce the name there.

    (That bit is relevant because even people you should be able to trust, about things they should know like their own experience and memories, can be wrong and you might want to verify with an outside source anyway.)

  32. Liked your video… but it wont change this :–>
    Sorry I don't care what is the correct prononciation, because I will always say: "Her – mee – own"… granted I'm french speaking native (if I said that correctly)… and "Hermione" : is easilyer pronounced "Her … Mi (Mee) … one (own)… "

  33. Thank you. I've been wondering how you find out if a pic or video is real and this is very helpful. Also if it strikes you as questionable you should double check. And some things are obvious. Sharks are not fresh water fish. Sometimes people don't notice. Got a pic the other day that showed a bridge connected to a floating island. Someone wanted to know where it was at. I'll assume that they didn't notice. At least I hope so. 🙂

  34. Okay, this deep fake thing freaks me out as hell. As if propaganda wars were not confusing and destructive enough. Now thinking about all the possible implementations makes me paranoid. 👁

  35. Cant forget the maga hat kid. I was in a circle of people wanting to punch that kid. All because of an edited (selective clip) video. Scary times. I spoke up and was aggressively labeled. No hard feelings but i cant express how important this segment is. Youre a legend

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