Photo with false information on sharks in Myrtle Beach swarms so - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Photo with false information on sharks in Myrtle Beach swarms social media

A screenshot of the original image claiming these sharks were seen in Myrtle Beach, that has been shared over 100,000 times. A screenshot of the original image claiming these sharks were seen in Myrtle Beach, that has been shared over 100,000 times.
Screenshot of the 2014 USA Today article featuring the shark image. Screenshot of the 2014 USA Today article featuring the shark image.
To perform a Google Reverse Image Search, head to http://images.google.com and drag the image into the search field. To perform a Google Reverse Image Search, head to http://images.google.com and drag the image into the search field.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – When surfing the waters off the Carolinas, you should be on the lookout for sharks. When surfing social media, you should be on the lookout for hoaxes and misinformation.

On Wednesday, a Facebook fan shared an image with us, reportedly of several sharks swimming in shallow waters in Myrtle Beach. The same image was sent to us by another Facebook user, with a claim that a friend took it in Garden City. This picture was especially alarming, given the recent shark incidents in North Carolina.

The image appears to have been originally shared by a Facebook user on Tuesday, with the caption: “Family staying in Myrtle Beach took this picture today !! Stay out of the water people !!” That picture has since been shared over 100,000 times.

So where was this frightening photo actually taken? Cape Canaveral, Florida. In 2014.

The image is prominently featured in a USA Today article from August 2014, but can actually be traced back to a July 24, 2014 article from SpaceCoastDaily.com. The caption reads:

Lemon sharks are among the species tagged by biologists at the Kennedy Space Center. Photographed in the shallow waters off Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, these stocky and powerful sharks are named for their yellow color. (InoMedic Health Applications image)

And as State Farm Insurance has taught us: people CAN put things on the internet that aren’t true. (Bonjour!)

This isn’t the first time misinformation has been spread on Facebook, and it likely won’t be the last.

An article from our own news station was spread widely on Facebook last month in the days leading up to Bikefest 2015. The article reported on eight shootings that took place during Bikefest, however, as many people failed to recognize, that article was from 2014.

If you see an image that seems unbelievable, that may be because it is. One tool at your disposal to sort out fake or misleading images is Google Image Search. Simply head to:http://images.google.com, and drag the questionable image into the search field.

Google will return a list of websites that feature that image, as well as visually-similar images, and different sizes of the searched image. With a little research, you can usually determine the original source of many images you find in your newsfeed.

We have reached out to the woman who originally shared the image on Facebook for her comment. 

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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