April 30, 2020

States are beginning to loosen COVID-19-related restrictions. That means some beaches are reopening. When I heard this news, an alarm went off in my head to be on the lookout for old photos resurfacing.

Already, I saw the #FloridaMorons was trending last week because of photos showing people swarming Florida beaches. PolitiFact even wrote a fact-check about beaches in Arizona reopening. Arizona is landlocked.

What should you do if you see photos of people on beaches?

First, check the date of the photo. If something has been retweeted, shared, or screenshotted, look at the original date. Is it from recent weeks, or is it from years past? If it is recent, is the person who posted it the same person who took that photo? Sometimes people take another person’s photos and repost them, making them appear recent.

To check this out, you can do a reverse google image search just by plugging the photo into Google Images using the desktop view.

What about videos of beaches?

You can do just about the same thing using a chrome extension called InVid. You can copy the video link, paste it into the keyframes tool, and InVid will chop the video into screenshots you can use for a reverse image search.

If you’re not finding anything using the above tools, you can always do a keyword search. By typing in keywords like “Florida beaches reopening,” it’s possible the photo or video you’re seeking has already been picked up by a news or fact-checking outlet.

If you see videos or photos of people on beaches reopening, I hope that alarm goes off that maybe you should check the post out before sharing it. So, try a reverse image search, use InVid, do a keyword search, and let us know what you find.

Lyndsay Valadez is an intern for MediaWise and a student at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in journalism and minoring in Spanish and studio art.

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