Do We Live in a Digitally Manipulated Reality?

Is this Photoshopped? Recently a few social media influencers/professionals I follow on Instagram have ‘faked’ traveling to places like Coachella and London. These influencers would post photos for the ‘time’ they were at this location making it seem very real, even going to lengths to alter their posts so they seem as if they are actually in this location, then when their ‘trip’ is over they tell their followers it was ‘faked’ and even show the actual photos before manipulation.




This social media star, Gabbie Hanna posted for days that she was at Coachella, I remember seeing this photo on my own social media feed seeing how cool it was that she was at Coachella, A few days later I saw she made a blog showing that she faked the whole thing and never went to Coachella which was hard to believe. She showed the before and after images of her friend who edited the photos. You can see them for yourself on her Instagram @gabbiehanna or the one who does the digital manipulating @kellansworld


Instagram: @gabbiehanna



Some social media influencers do it for fun with little to no harm and try not to get caught by their followers but in news media it is unethical practice for photojournalists. It is important that people understand the purpose of the image that is going to be used for. If it is being used for personal artistic/aesthetic value then it is okay to state that. But trying to manipulate the meaning of newsworthy images is not. It is important that photojournalists show the true representation of the photo to the public so there isn’t confusion and lies being promoted.


Photo manipulation should be kept at the simple blemish edits, anything further can cause problems when the photo is edited. Many times in news sources today edits are made to stir up controversy like this one on OJ Simpson. People want the truth since they aren’t actually there to witness things that are happening so they are putting trust in photographers that these are the real factual images of the things in the photo.


An important ethical standard of communication would be truth, it is important to web designers to protect against misrepresentation because if you are deceptive to your audience you can lose their trust. On a company standpoint having images that are deceptive and altering the meaning of the image can get you fired really quickly just like this person did in these examples of photo manipulation in the past. I know I would lose trust in companies and even some people if something I believed to be true ended up being a lie through digital manipulation. Like I said before there is a difference between being creative and being deceptive for something such as the news.