25 Fake Viral Photos That Fooled Everyone


We’ve all been there. Your social media feed pops out a pic that is so spectacular or emotion-triggering you can’t restrain yourself from commenting and sharing it with your friends.

Next thing you know, you become one the pawns that help make it viral. Only when the phenomenon gets millions of reaction and becomes front page material is someone inspired enough to double check the facts. Surprise! It’s fake as the summer in England. But you liked being fooled, didn’t you?!

1. Security Camera Outside George Orwell’s House

There is nothing we enjoy most than accurate predictions of the future.

When George Orwell sketched the future fate of humanity what he saw was more than gloomy. The book “1984” tells the story of a dystopian world where authorities (aka Big Brother) watched our every move.

Although in a milder form and a bit late, Orwell’s prediction did come true. However, one Internet fan was not happy with the result and proceeded in digitally adding a CCTV camera right next to the house where Orwell’s spent his days.

The photo went viral, triggering massive sharing on social networks and allowing smart pants to flaunt their fine understanding of quality literature.


2. Hercules, The World’s Biggest Dog

Creating fake photos and unleashing them so that they become viral is an art not many can master.

However, when it comes to animals, the recipe is simple. Make them as big as possible, and folks will lose their minds on command.

That was the case with the photo of Hercules, the mutt crowned as the world’s biggest dog. Internet users just couldn’t contain themselves from falling for the old trick.

Soon enough, the story was on everyone’s lips. There are indeed some larger dog breeds, but nothing goes that far. Would you keep such a monster as a pet?


3. Putin, Tell Us Who The Real Hackers Are!

Putin had some explaining to do at the last G20 summit in Hamburg.

Even his pal Donald Trump has a menacing look on his face, and no way can the Tsar escape the tricky situation unless the whole thing was a clever Photoshop hoax.

Put your mind to work and imagine that chair vacated. Suddenly, all the tension goes away, and world leaders are having an informal small talk before the proceedings begin.

As for the guy who unleashed such a gem in social media, it is clear what he wants – to see the world burn. Photos like these can outrage partisans that take everything flying on the Internet for granted.


4. Dispose of Your Ugly Children Here!

Vintage photos are the best, especially when they reveal a part of our past we are not exactly proud of.

Check out how malicious digital surgeons can hijack an already ambiguous shot. The original pic differed only regarding the text on the sign – “Please keep off the grass!”

As for the little girl staring at us so disturbingly, we lack extra information on what she did to end up in the trash bin. Our best guess goes towards scaring the soul out of the other kids on the playground.

Parents were foolish when they shared it on the walls of their children. It scared them
into therapy!


5. Dumbest Firefighters Ever

The above fake photo went viral for an obvious reason.

Worried citizens suddenly felt like acting heroic to prevent a tragedy from happening. Unnamed warriors left their social media duties for a little while to call 911 and raise awareness on the impending disaster. Obviously, not before flooding Facebook and Twitter with their complaints on how local authorities manage crisis situations.

At the same time, someone at the other end of the optic fiber rubbed his hands in delight while harboring an evil smile. The prankster felt flattered by how the whole thing escalated and is now seeking even more complicated ways to exploit people’s appetite for the sensational.


6. Angel of Kobane

War is an excellent breeding for fake stories.

The photo below is real, and it depicts a woman named Rehana who voluntarily joined the Kurdish forces to fight the Islamic State in northern Syria. However, that is where the truth ends, and wild speculations enter the stage.

The Internet turned Rehana into a hero that allegedly slain more than 100 terrorists in an attempt to avenge the death of her father. Cut the slack! Such a scenario works only in Hollywood!

The less glamorous reality is that Rehana is too cute to be such a vicious killer. All she did was to take a pic with the fighters and serve as an online Jean of Arc.


7. Mother Antelope Offers Herself to Cheetahs

The natural world is a place of never-ending savagery but not this time!

The above pictures created a national tearjerker when someone thought of the most heartbreaking scenario. A mother Impala antelope feeds herself to the cheetahs to allow her babies to flee the scene and reach safety.

While such behavior happens for real in the animal kingdom, the photo was taken in captivity and depicts something else. The animals grew up together and were, in fact, playing with each other.

Blood avid social media users shared this in vain. No one replied with photos showing the massacre.

8. National Geographic Photo of The Year

Many too good to be true photos become viral under the umbrella of the “National Geographic Photo Of The Year” contest.

The one you just saw above is old but gold and probably ended up in your Inbox somewhere in the past. Although fake, it showed that people beg to be baited with viral content that ends up disappointing them.

Sharks that act so bravely and jump out of the water to attack belong to straight-to-DVD movies that never get past a 2.0 mark on IMDb. It was fun to watch “Jaws,” but people should get past their obsession with sharks.


9. Sharks in Shopping Mall after Aquarium Breaks

Here’s another fake photo that proves sharks are the secret ingredient to make your content go viral.

Every photo showing accidental accumulations of water ends up having the vicious creatures added digitally to the landscape. This time, we have an aquarium that spilled its deadly content all over the floor of a shopping mall.

Can you imagine trying to fit that pair of jeans while seeing the fins gaining on you? Mall shopping is for today’s youth what going to church was for older generations.

It’s pointless to say the sight triggered outrage on Facebook and Twitter and sent Hollywood producers on a feeding frenzy. Who’ll be the one to put it first on film?

10. People in Smog-Choked Beijing Are Watching Fake Sunrises

The smog crisis in Beijing got so worse the Chinese government installed giant screens to offer sad urban dwellers a rendition of the sun.

At least that’s the story that made people lose their minds and share it like crazy. Although genuine, the photo has a less gloomy backstory.

Air pollution is indeed alarming in China’s giant cities, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Only a couple of days a year offer such an apocalyptic spectacle.

The giant screen is not there to soothe the soul of the doomed but rather to advertise Shanghai as a potential tourist destination. The evil mastermind that unleashed this cookie knew exactly what side of the story to exploit.


11. Young Syrian Child Sleeping Next to the graves of His Dead Parents

A young Syrian boy is sleeping along with his parents.

It probably succeeded in making you feel bad as you joined the cohort of millions that took on social media to comment on life’s unfairness.

However, the photo turned out to be a fake, an “art project” if we are to believe the blogger that perpetrated the setup. The boy was not Syrian and not an orphan, and those graves were, in fact, meaningless piles of gravel.

How is that as a stunner? Journalism knows almost no ethics nowadays, and even though the goal was noble at heart, we can’t take lightly such forgery messing with our feelings.


12. Creepy Photo from A Soviet Mental Institution

Take a deep breath and calm your heart!

What you are seeing is not a bizarre poltergeist case recorded in a Russian asylum for orphan girls. Those poor souls are not possessed by evil spirits, but by someone equally malefic – their ballet instructor.

That’s right! What you see is, in fact, a photo taken at the right moment. The poor girls were caught in the middle of their jumping routines, and they leaned against the wall for extra support.

Do note the pillows some of them have underneath for cushioning the landings. Oh, and ignore the person lying barefoot on the floor.

We don’t know yet how that fits the story. We repeat, for the sanity of your mind, that there is no haunting going on in this pic.


13. Steven Seagal Gives Vladimir Putin Bunny Ears

Steven Seagal is a man that knows no fear.

That’s exactly the piece of info that led our con artist to conceive such a politically incorrect photo. Bunny ears attached to the head of one of the most influential world leaders can mean anything you want it to say.

Look, even one of Putin’s bodyguard is amused by the awkward situation, although we doubt it looks funnier from the back angle. What can go wrong?

Let’s just say that Putin doesn’t hug his blankie at night. Instead, he keeps a firm grip on the nuclear briefcase that allows Mother Russia to act boldly on the political stage.


14. The Real Identity of St. Nicholas

Although fake, the photo on the right left many children with permanent trust issues and a few with brain damage.

That is what happens if you let your kids roam freely on social media. They come across bits of information which, can wreak havoc inside their little heads.

Hiding the Easter bunny in the costume of Saint Nicholas not only counts as a product fail but also as a major blasphemy for folks that still hold a solid grip on the religious nature of holidays.

The fact that the setup was a part of an ad meant to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t make it less savage.

15. World’s Greatest Selfie

Admit it! You bite your nail with envy looking at the entitled “world’s greatest selfie.”

How could one be under water and still get the framing right? The answer is simple.

This was not a selfie, but rather a photo taken by a professional photographer. The man who Photoshopped himself in front obviously wanted social media glory with the least amount of effort involved.

He didn’t have to pay for an exotic vacation or bare the company of his annoying friends. All that he needed an excellent travel pic he could later digitally enhance.

16. Supermoon over Rio de Janeiro

The “supermoon” phenomenon works to explain how an Internet hype can get entirely out of control.

Check out how far some artists are willing to go to make their content stand out. The genius above breached the limits of decency when he planted the biggest Moon ever seen in photography above the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Obviously, the first ones disgusted were the astronomers. If the natural satellite orbiting Earth ever gets so close to our planet, we are in for a lot of troubles.

What’s the moral here? Next time you lure your girlfriend out with that promised supermoon, be honest about it. The celestial body will be only slightly bigger than usual.

17. Iraq Fake War Photo

Remember how war photos are not what they seem? The above photo looks too good to be true.

Back in 2003 a reporter from LA Times sent to cover the War in Iraq decided it’s a good idea to get creative with the shots he sent back at headquarters.

He proceeded in combining a pic showing civilians, with that of an angry British soldier. The result might have sold a lot of newspapers, but people did not take it well when the truth emerged.

18. Killer Whale Attacks Bear

Most folks wondering on the winding paths of the online can’t resist the temptation of a heavyweight match between nature’s deadliest creatures.

When you put a killer whale and a grizzly bear meters away from each other at the height of spawning season, you know it will get brutal. Unfortunately, the shot that promised a formidable showdown turned to be fake.

First, orcas only rarely venture outside their marine habitat, and seeing such a big fellow in the shallow waters of the stream raised an impossible to neglect question mark.

For the sake of sports, let’s assume it was all real. Who do you think won?

19. John Lennon Playing Guitar with Che Guevara

A particular breed of fake viral photos exists, one that relies on celebrities posing together in unexpected circumstances.

John Lennon playing guitar alongside Che Guevara (you know, the guy on the T-shirts) beats them all. Whether Che abandoned his revolution and joined the Beatles, or Lennon embraced communism, the two illustrious figures of the last century would have at least one thing in common – their fight against the crooked system.

The two singing “Imagine” together would have been quite something to spectate!

20. JFK and His Daughter Caroline

Everything JFK-related has the potential to go viral.

Grave robbers simply can’t let the American President rest undisturbed. They dug up a photo showing him and daughter Caroline and performed a face swap that left viewers uncertain about which one is the original.

We put on the “Fake” and “Real” tags just to make it easier for you. Even so, both versions are equally disturbing, and a conspiracy theory immediately comes to mind. What if JFK wore a face mask all the time and staged his assassination to exchange the Oval Office for a carefree life?

21. Children Riding Giant Rabbits

Our obsession for bigger than normal animals is as old as time itself.

Check out the bunny hysteria that swept through the previous generations. Just ask your parents about the postcards from Texas showing children riding huge rabbits. Pranksters fought those were funny.

Can you imagine a cavalry of such mounted warriors charging at full speed? You would be caught between the instinct to run and the urge to rub their cute little bellies.

22. Mitt Romney’s Family T-Shirt Blooper

Ever wondered why Mitt Romney lost the battle to Obama in the 2012 election?

How the hell would we know? It was certainly not because of the photo above. Father of five, Romney once took his family on stage where they composed his name with letters written on their T-shirts.

However, his campaign staff didn’t think it through. A crafty Photoshop hoaxer (probably from the Democratic Party) needed only a couple of minutes to switch some letters and produce an entirely different result.

The “money” reference remembered the American public that Romney was a rich guy worth $250 million. Word puns can cost dearly, especially when people share them all over social media.

23. A Boy Who Chained His Bike to A Tree In 1914

A boy who chained his bike to a tree in 1914 and left for certain doom on the battlegrounds of WWI.

Although the photo is real, the caption went a bit astray from the original story. The abandoned bike is not older than the 1950s, and the boy left it there because he had just received a superior model as a present.

Believe it or not, the rusty piece of junk became a touristic hotspot once the tragic but fake tale made readers cry themselves dry. They even have ghost stories claiming that the wheels spin when the spirit of the boy feels cheerful.

24. Children Actually Mailed Through the US Postal Service

Another set of fake viral photos take us back in time and reveals an odd practice at the turn of the century – mailing children using the USPS.

For those born too late to know, the mailman’s job was to carry letters from one address to another. Yep, it is like today’s e-mails, only happening many times slower and without the 100% guarantee of success.

At some point, the US Postal Service flirted with the idea of expanding their services. Obviously, delivering children was not one of them. The photos are rather ad campaigns of the past that sought a similar thing as the ones of today – get your attention.

25. The Brand New Boeing “797” Blended-Wing Airliner

The Boeing “797” Blended-Wing Airliner was a widespread hoax that delighted (or annoyed) readers in the early days of the Internet.

The story was that Boeing wanted to win the battle for aviation supremacy against Airbus by launching a 1000-seat giant that employed a revolutionary blended-wing body shape. Engineers even went through the effort of contacting the guys at NASA for guidance on the best fuselage shape.

The 797 probably explains why people were so obsessed with UFO and other flying oddities back then. Fortunately for us frequent flyers to whom life is dear, this was just another fake viral photo that fooled everyone.

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