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


Because the Internet is trolling, trolling all the way down, thousands of people mistook (or at least pretended to mistake) this post by satirical Facebook group Christians for Michelle Bachman as a sincere expression of pot-related panic this week, sharing it over 20,000 times.

Eventually, Snopes was forced to intervene, gently informing readers that, no, bongs don't explode and no, Michelle Bachman doesn't believe they do.

As for the gruesome picture itself, it originated from the Tumblr of a 20-year-old makeup artist, later entering the greater online gene pool—as all things must—via Imgur and Reddit.

Image via Facebook


This picture—supposedly showing car bombings in Iraq since 2003—went viral after appearing on Reddit last Thursday, resulting in misleading posts from Vox and news/activism/apparel startup Ryot.

In reality, the map shows a random sample of fatal incidents (including murders and accidents) recorded by coalition forces between 2004 and 2009. Taken from Wikileaks data published by The Guardian, the image first showed up on Arab language social media in 2012, even then mislabeled as "The explosions in Baghdad (2003-2012)."

The real thing, however, is no less sobering. Below is an interactive map we created from the same data set, showing over 30,000 IED-related deaths in Iraq from January 2004 to December 2009. Of those killed, almost two-thirds were recorded as civilians.


When the ( overwhelmingly white) student body of New Hampshire's Keene State College smashed windows and attacked police at the Keene Pumpkin Festival last weekend, some commentators called foul, noting that while the riots in Ferguson this summer resulted in the thinly-disguised hand-wringing about "culture" and "thuggery," this one seemed to elicit a collective shrug.

However, one viral image attributed to the pumpkin-inspired insurrection in reality showed an entirely different set of misbehaving white people. As noted by legendary newspaper reader Jim Romenesko, the mad grab for high-end tennis apparel seen here actually took place a decade ago, captured by photographer Ian Waldie at the 2003 G8 summit protests in Geneva.


Because #brands now inspire the kind of devotion people previously reserved for God and heroin, the possible existence of red velvet Oreos became one of the most discussed topics on social media this week after pictures of the purported cookies showed up online.

Many outlets quickly declared the photos fake, citing a post by the Facebook page "OreoRedVelvet" declaring "Sorry y'all this was just for a school project."

However, that page appears unconnected to the recent photos and Nabisco itself has remained coy about the cookies, responding to Gawker's inquiries with a Glomar response fit for a uranium-enrichment program:

As I'm sure you've seen, OREO limited-edition flavors are constantly a source of excitement and speculation. Over the last few years, we've seen a number of made up flavors "leak" online, but we've also seen actual flavors leak too. When we have more information to share about any of our new limited-edition flavors, we'll be sure to let you know.

The closest thing to a confirmation comes from The Verge, which published additional photos of the cookies on Wednesday, credited to an anonymous source. According to them, the snack-sampling Deep Throat claims "the creme inside the Red Velvet Oreo is the standard creme, only with the 'taste of that of Red Velvet icing.'"