As Hurricane Sandy clobbered the the most populated region of the United States, many people took to social media and the Internet to receive and circulate information about what experts called a 100-year storm.
As is typically the case with natural disasters — especially in this digital age — viral photos quickly put a face on the catastrophe. However, it turns out many of the most popular images pinballing around the Internet during the storm were either fake or outdated. Even major media outlets got duped.
Here are the Top 5 fake photos that got passed around the Internet during Sandy's wrath:
1.) Ominous Clouds Looming Over Statue of Liberty (above)
As Gawker pointed out, "everyone from the the New York Times' Jodi Kantor to the New Yorker's David Grann to Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski" tweeted this fake photo of what looks to be a lost still from the movie Independence Day. However, the image was a Photoshop job that combined a photo of the New York harbor with a 2004 image of a Nebraska super cell taken by Mike Hollingshead.
2.) Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Real photo, wrong day.
NPR tweeted and posted this photo of three soldiers getting pelted with rain as they guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery, calling it "perhaps one of the more stunning pictures we've come across today."
But the photo was actually taken in September. NPR later updated their blog, disclosing that the photo was "not taken during Sandy." NPR credited the Old Guard's Twitter account the and following tweet for helping with the correction: "Thanks for posting the pic about @The_Old_Guard, but that is not from today. This one is http://goo.gl/OC5lz."
The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, Talking Points Memo, and other media outlets also posted the photo, followed by later updates and/or corrections. Compliments of the Old Guard's Facebook page, here's a real image of a soldier standing guard during Sandy.
3.) Sinister Clouds Threaten to Swallow Empire State Building
Again, real photo, wrong day. This one was all over Twitter, Facebook and beyond. The original image appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.