Occasionally, against all odds, you’ll see an interesting or even enjoyable picture on the Internet. But is it worth sharing, or just another Photoshop job that belongs in the digital trash heap? Check in here and find out if that viral photo deserves an enthusiastic “forward” or a pitiless “delete.”

Image via Imgur


For whatever reason, pictures of receipts have been big winners in the viral photo economy, which is reason enough to fake them for some seeking internet fame. This image, however, comes from a real and terrifying incident that occurred this week in Highlands County, Florida.

As Gawker reported on Wednesday, Cheryl Treadway and her three children were being held hostage at knifepoint by boyfriend Ethan Nickerson when she came up with her clever rescue plan. From NBC News:

Cheryl Treadway convinced her boyfriend to let her use her phone to order from Pizza Hut, police told NBC station WFLA on Tuesday. But as well as requesting a small hand-tossed classic pizza with pepperoni, Treadway also wrote “911 hostage help” in the order’s comments — prompting the Pizza Hut to call the authorities.

Police responded to the pizza chain and to Treadway’s home in Highlands County after she made the order on Monday, at which point she ran outside holding a small child. Treadway’s boyfriend, 26-year-old Ethan Earl Nickerson, was persuaded to come outside peacefully and her other two children were unharmed, police said.

According to WFLA, Nickerson has been charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement.

Image via Twitter


Another unlikely theme among viral images online is man-made structures built on natural pillars. Pretty much all of them (including this one) are fake.

Last year, Paleofuture’s Matt Novak interviewed the creator of the picture above, a member of the art collective Reality Cues who goes by the Twitter handle @Archistophanes.

“I like that you say ‘clearly photoshopped,’” he told Novak at the time, “because to me they are all clearly photoshopped.”

Images via Twitter//h/t PicPedant


One of this week’s most shared photos was this image, tweeted by Indian celebrities like Farah Khan and attributed to the recent earthquake in Nepal. In reality, however, the photo was taken some eight years earlier in Vietnam’s Ha Giang province.

On Monday, the BBC interviewed the original photographer, Na Son Nguyen, who says his image was given imagined backstories almost immediately after he posted it online, “like their mother had died and their father left them”:

It didn’t stop there. He later found the photo with credits such as “two Burmese orphans” and even “victims of the civil war in Syria”.

Na Son said he made efforts to clarify and to claim copyright of the photo but with little success.

“This is perhaps my most shared photo but unfortunately in the wrong context.”

Image via Twitter//h/t Snopes


Every now and then, the internet gods smile and offer up a photo that is both cool and real, like this one, showing Linn County, Oregon’s Lost Lake, a popular fishing spot that, during especially dry years, can drain completely through open lava tubes.

According to Willamette National Forest spokesperson Jude McHugh, officials have found car parts and other objects in the tubes over the years, presumably put there by individuals hoping to prevent the lake from emptying. McHugh told the Bend Bulletin that any attempts to plug the holes are “strongly discouraged.”

Image via Twitter


On Thursday, TMZ posted this picture, supposedly of John Legend as a baby. However, this is not John Legend as a baby. This is just a baby that looks remarkably like John Legend.

Yesterday, John Legend himself laughed off the fake photo’s enduring popularity. TMZ has since corrected their article.

Images via Jezebel/Twitter