Tom Phillips: Correcting tweets ‘like putting toothpaste back in the tube’

PandoDaily | The Verge
David Holmes interviews Tom Phillips, whose “Is Twitter Wrong?” Tumblr neatly debunked many false photos from Hurricane Sandy. Phillips is an editor at MSN, Holmes writes, and he says correcting errant tweets through Twitter alone is “like putting toothpaste back in the tube, except the toothpaste is alive and didn’t like it in the tube and is dreaming of Broadway.”

Phillips, Holmes writes, started his Tumblr posting best sonic toothbrush pictures “to see if checking photos and facts in real-time over social media could be done in a way that would work as part of a newsroom’s workflow, or whether ‘it’s the sort of thing that would end up eating your whole day to little benefit.’ ”

In other words, how much more likely is it that you’ll unmask someone tweeting serious nonsense than that you’ll prove something is merely an old photo of a supercell thunderstorm?

“Separating fact from fiction,” Holmes suggests, “becomes the ultimate curation.”

A lot of people haven’t quite yet got to grip with the fact that not everything on the Internet is real,” Phillips tells Adi Robertson. “But every time something like this happens… everyone gets a little smarter. At some point, we’ll have adjusted.”

Related: How journalists can avoid getting fooled by fake Hurricane Sandy photos | That photo of the Tomb of the Unknowns guard in the rain? It’s from September | You can’t trust anything funny on the Internet these days

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  • Egg Man

    Tom, a viral photo from 2009 that I have been researching might be
    worthy of your taking a look at. If you google “Glacier crying face
    woman Norway” you will see over 10,000 google hits from all over the

    It is an alleged real photo of a glacier’s face in Norway, reportedly
    shot by an American wildlife photographer who also does amazing
    wildlfie shots and works for National Geographic, who allegedly sold
    the photo to a UK tabloid agency called Barcroft Media, know for their
    fake photos, and the photo online now for 3 years purports to show a
    woman’s face on the face of a glacier in Norway shedding tears as
    meltwater from the glacier flows out fo her ears, and the photo was
    used by UK tabloids first to say SEE EVEN MOTHER NATURE IS CRYING
    ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, and then used by climate denialists to say SEE
    HOW NUTTY THOSE CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE and still, 3 years later, we do
    not know if the photo was even a real raw negative photograph or a
    doctored one. And if doctored, most likely by Barcroft, not by the US
    photographer himself, Michael Nolan, who would never do such a thing.
    But UK tabloids do these things. Here is my take on my blog. With new
    computer software that can spot photoshopped photos, we might be able
    to determine one day if this crying glacier face is real or faked.