'Never believe everything on the Internet', has become a ubiquitous phrase in recent years because, in an age where anyone can upload anything, people no longer need to abide by a strict code of journalistic ethics to pass things off as genuine.
But it's only in recent years that people have started taking umbrage with a problem Donald Trump recently called, 'Fake news' which is strange because the Internet has long been a playground for all things fake. Just take these ridiculous photoshopped photos
To you and I, they probably are ridiculous, but to millions of others, they have no doubt fooled them into believing Vampire Squids are actually a thing. Here are 15 examples of fake photos that fooled millions.
1. Angolan Witch Spider
A man with too much time on his hands humorously fooled the Internet when he uploaded a photo that convinced Internet users that the largest known subspecies of spider, the 'Angolan witch spider' had moved from its natural hunting ground in South America to feast on domestic animals in Texas.
Going viral, many media outlets covered the nightmarish image, but readers soon wiped their foreheads with relief once it transpired that the eight-legged freak was photoshopped.
2. The Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is a mythical creature, and although several sightings have been reported, the consensus is that it is nothing more than make-believe. But that rationale only came about following the deathbed confession of the surgeon Robert Kenneth Wilson, who, in 1934, sold a photo of what he claimed was the Loch Ness Monster to the Daily Mail. Withholding his name, the famous picture became known as 'The Surgeon's Photo', and for years, it was considered evidence to prove the monster's authenticity.
However, in 1994, Christian Spurling, at the age of 93, admitted that the surgeon’s photo was nothing more than a silly hoax aided by his Stepfather Marmaduke Wetherell as an act of revenge.
The story went back to the early 1930s when sightings of the Loch Ness Monster were 'frequent', leading Spurling's stepfather, who was a big game hunter, to be hired by the Daily Mail newspaper to investigate. But what Wetherell didn't know was that the footprints he reported to the Natural History Museum were a hoax, and he was left deeply humiliated. So, in revenge, he asked his model-making stepson, Chris Spurling, to make a replica monster.
Using a toy submarine, the 30cm high model was then put into the lake, leading Wetherell to take a picture of the “monster”. To add an air of authenticity to the photo, he persuaded Dr. Wilson, a man he knew through a mutual friend to develop the picture and sell it to the Daily Mail.
3. Pilot Selfie
It's a crying shame this photo is fake because the stunning backdrop and sheer audacity to pull something like that off would make for a remarkable image.
Yet the authenticity of the photo was dispelled pretty quickly due to the reflection in the pilot's sunglasses showing a runway, and thus the background was added to the picture to make it appear as though it was taken at a higher altitude.
4. A View From Mars
However spectacular this photo is, people should know by now that it's fake. I mean, if you still believe that someone from NASA had landed on Mars and took a photo of its sprawling mythical terrain, surely it would have made world news as opposed to being the preserve of Internet forums?
Anway, this photo was first proven fake after NASA experts analyzed the photo and soon discovered the letters 'NE' in the bottom left of the photo once they zoomed in. The letters suggested the use of planetarium software, thereby proving once and for all that some Mars-obsessed weirdo had fooled the Internet.
5. The Monster Squid
Creators and distributors of fake photos seemingly have a thing for larger-than-life animals, and many people continue to buy into their authenticity, with various websites using said pictures as thumbnails to promote their articles.
Just take the 160-foot-long giant squid as yet another example of this annoying trend. Supposedly washed up on the beach of Santa Monica; this monster squid became the talk of social media and people probably thought it had to be real because the humans pictured looked so engrossed in the spectacle.
But the Internet Police (in other words; people with common sense) soon established that it was fake and that the longest recorded squid was still 43 feet long, making it almost four times smaller than the one in the picture.
6. The Derbyshire Fairy
It seems you can create anything nowadays and pass it off as something it isn't and the Derbyshire fairy is yet another example of such a gullible trend.
Sculpted by Dan Baines for April Fool's Day, the moment he uploaded it online the image blew up and became a source of endless discussion. Yet despite being informed it was fake, that didn't stop many continuing to believe in fairies, and Baines even managed to sell the darn thing for $300.
7. The Black Lion
While it would be incredibly cool to come across a black lion chilling on the grass and looking as swarf as a 1950's movie star, that will probably never happen as this photo was significantly doctored by DeviantArt user "PAulie-SVK.
In fact, the original photo was a white lion that had first appeared on cutehomepets.com before subsequently being altered by the DeviantArt user, and it wasn't long before the image proliferated in popularity once Reddit and various other online forums posted the image.
Interestingly, sightings of black lions aren't unheard of, but most are usually confused as black because of the photographer's poor light.
8. The 9/11 Tourist
Following the increasing malaise the terrorist attacks on New York's Twin Towers spawned, the world was quick to report on anything related to the disaster, and when a photo appeared to show a tourist having his picture taken atop one of the buildings seconds before the attack, the Internet was quick to believe its authenticity.
However, the man in question later revealed himself to be a Hungarian tourist who admitted to photoshopping the image as a piece of dark humor to send to his friends, though some had already cottoned onto its inaccuracies after determining that few cameras could remain intact from such a crash.
9. Blue Watermelon
Blue watermelon looks fantastic, and it somehow makes eating the sweet and succulent fruit even more appealing. The photo also had a caption which explained its supposed 'Japanese origins' and that its official name was actually Moon Melon. The caption also stated that it changes colors when you begin to eat it!
But like with most things in life, if something sounds too good to be true it often is, and it was soon revealed to be little more than a photoshopped photo of a regular slice of watermelon. Damn it!
10. The shark and the chopper
This photo had many people fooled, because who doesn't want to believe that badass soldiers regularly come into contact with teeth-wielding sharks?
However, while this may look like the scene from a Michael Bay movie, it is completely fake.
11. Stop being poor!
Paris Hilton is known for many things and being obnoxious indifferent to the lives of ordinary folk are traits of hers that were evidenced on her breakout reality tv show, The Simple Life.
But, Hilton's "Stop Being Poor" T-shirt was doctored by a photoshop user, which just goes to show that you should never judge a person by their reputation, even if they are Paris Hilton.
12. Obama's phone mishap
Disparaging presidents is nothing new, and in an age of Fake News- a term coined by a president who isn't immune to online ridicule himself- it's almost become second nature to question images and news pieces that are posted online.
Just take this photo of former president Barack Obama holding his landline telephone upside down. Many probably believed this was true, but unfortunately for Democrat-bashing Republicans, it was fake.
13. Dubai's resting moon
How many articles have you read online entitled "15 Perfectly Timed Photos That Are Beyond Incredible"? A lot, probably, and while many are real and beautiful, many others have simply been altered online.
Unfortunately, that includes the photo above of a full moon appearing to rest on Dubai's awe-inspiring BurjAlarab.
14. Hillary Clinton poses next to a citizen who appears to be wearing a mocking T-shirt
Yet another doctored photo for one's political gain, this photo of Hillary Clinton posing next to a woman appearing to mock her by wearing a T-shirt with the words "I'm With Stupid" emblazoned on the front had many Republicans laughing their heads off.
But in the words of Donald Trump, it was yet another example of "fake news."
15. Martin Luther King's middle finger
Dr. King stood up for the oppressed and always demanded his followers conduct their protests in a peaceful manner, so it seemed strange when a photo of the great man giving the photographer the middle finger went viral.
Of course, in time it transpired that an Internet user had erased one of his fingers to make it look like a crude signal instead of the peace salute that it was.