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“Historical” Pics

Posted 27th October 2013

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Fake, photoshopped picture of the Golden Gate Bridge
Real picture of The Golden Gate Bridge

Two images of the Golden Gate Bridge. On the left, a fake picture posted by the Twitter account @HistoricalPics. On the right, the real picture which it took me all of two minutes to find.1

Unsurprisingly the account failed to post a correction, even with numerous people – myself included – pointing out that the image was fake. I say “unsurprisingly”, because the account smacks of the kind of thing that doesn’t care what it posts, as long as it continues to gain followers. The Twitter bio of the person who owns the account does nothing to dissuade that impression.

Let me be perfectly clear. If you post any kind of content to the internet – professional or amateur, paid or unpaid – and aren’t willing to post corrections when someone points out when you are wrong: you stink. Not only are you spreading misinformation rather than truth – the very opposite thing an account called “Historical Pics” should be doing – but you also come across as someone who is massively, massively insecure. You really think so little of yourself that posting the odd correction is just too much to bear?

That’s just… embarrassing.

  1. As was pointed out to me, why the hell was this ever photoshopped in the first place, when the original looks so much more impressive? 

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Jamie on 29 December 2013 @ 5pm

A site that I help out at, Transdiffusion, was an early member of the Report an Error Alliance http://reportanerror.org

We mark where we’ve corrected an error and publish the correction, plus the reason for the error if known, at the foot of the article (and even when we’ve said something wrong on YouTube and the like). I think that doing so makes people trust Transdiffusion all the more: the site isn’t infallible but it is ready and willing to be corrected and to make corrections. That, to me, increases trust.

But I’ve heard plenty of opposition to this from otherwise respectable professional journalists (not from our non-professional writers, however, who welcome it) and from critics of the site: both say that admitting errors detracts from trust in the rest of the content and that ‘consumers’ are happier with silent corrections or none at all.

That type of precious, pre-internet thinking is why the British press got itself into the Leveson mess it is still mired in, and why the BBC doesn’t have the backbone it bloody should following queengate and the Hutton whitewash et al.

John Hoare on 19 January 2014 @ 12pm

I couldn’t agree more, Jamie.

That Report An Error site is fascinating. Might try and implement that in the upcoming Dirty Feed redesign. It’s a great idea.