Hurricane Sandy is currently battering the hell out of the east coast. While those folks out there do whatever they need to do in order to stay safe (and dry), the rest of the country seems to really enjoy finding "touching" or "amazing" photos of various aspects of the aforementioned storm. The only problem with that is that people also really like to make up crap and say that it's from the hurricane. I don't know why people do this. I can't quite figure out the satisfaction that comes from portraying an image as something that it isn't in order to...what? That's where I get stuck. Is it to show how gullible people are? Is it to show how easy it is to evoke human emotion without any proof of anything? I don't get it. I'm sure that there are plenty of real photos out there of this hurricane that will accomplish exactly whatever that thing is that the fake photos are "accomplishing". Let's review.
Here's a picture of a shark that is allegedly swimming in a street in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. Now, before you breathlessly share this with all of Facebook, don't. It was actually taken in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Irene. You could have shared it then, but you cannot share it now.
Here is a picture that was tweeted by someone named Sarah Simmons. Sarah Simmons appears to be a journalist for Fox 5. I am using the term "journalist" in this sense rather lightly, as her caption reads "Eery pic as Sandy moves closer RT @sparky4886: Brooklyn Bridge #HurricaneSandy pic.twitter.com/NFUEs7x7". Now, it's a retweet, so I guess that this journalist just assumed that everything on Twitter is accurate (including the spelling of the word "eerie"). That's unfortunate because just a little checking would have shown that this picture is from 2009 and is of the Washington Bridge, not the Brooklyn Bridge. But way to go, journalist! That's helpful reporting right there!
Here's another picture which shows large clouds over New York. The caption on this particular tweeted photo reads "Hurricane Sandy approaching New York." Yeah, no. It's not from the current hurricane. It was from a hurricane warning last year. But hey, at least it wasn't a journalist spreading the rumor this time, right? Right?!
And then we have the one that I have seen all over Facebook and Twitter today. It's a picture of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The various captions always essentially read that the soldiers are currently standing guard whilst Hurricane Sandy pours rain down upon them. Now, from what I understand, there are still soldiers guarding the Tomb during this hurricane. But that picture is not of them and it is not of now. It was taken by a one Karen Markert in September. Seriously, what is the point in trying to make this picture into something that it is not?! This picture is pretty cool on its own merit. I don't understand why anyone would feel the need to make it about Hurricane Sandy.
In summation, the point of sharing things on social media isn't just to do it for the sake of doing it no matter if it's fake or not. The point of sharing things is to pass along information that is supposed to be authentic. People who pass a picture or a story off as something that it is not are known as tools or asshats. That is all. Oh, and good luck out there, east coast. I think that you're going to need it.