Tools for Verifying the Authenticity of Online Images

6a00d83451e32769e201bb087a5b99970dRecently, anti-abortion activists at The Center for Medical Progress, released images and videos purported to show the illegal practices that took place at some Planned Parenthood clinics. The graphic images showed dismembered fetuses after abortions were completed and videos allegedly showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue. According to The New York Times, Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s embattled president, during her recent testimony on congress stated, “The videos had been edited by the activist to mislead…” Richards goes on to say “The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law…”

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 29: Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, prepares for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether PPFA should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In an age of societies reliance on various images professed to be actual on the internet, how can journalist verify the images that are being distributed? There are online tools that help verify the authenticity of images.

According to Storyful, one of the top sites or verifying user-generated content, Google Search by Image is a top online tool used by journalists to verify the authenticity of images. Google Search by Image tool allows users to upload images and Google yields results with similar images, sites that include the image and other sizes of the image searched for.


Another helpful site is TinEye. According to the TinEye site, they are “an image search company that uses innovative and customizable image search solutions using image recognition and computer vision.” TinEye has multiple image recognition products and services. When a user uploads an image to TinEye API, the image is searched against the TinEye’s index. Whereas, TinEye’s MatchEngine matches uploaded images against those on the internet.


For many new media journalist and stringers, using Google Search by Image may be the best bet as the Google tool is free for Google Chrome and Gmail users.



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