How to find the source of a photo (II)

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Sometimes the source of a photo can be found from the file name. When the name is a long numeric character set, the photo was probably taken from social networks. For example, names of some photos from Facebook contain the ID of the user who posted it. Let’s take this photo:

It is quite difficult to determine the context of the photo when it was posted without its description and source. This is what a name of a photo uploaded to the Facebook server usually looks like: “11201814_10205461106940119_1410813217263058502_n”. 15 digits in the middle are the unique number of a user. If you, you will get the web-address of the page of this user. Thus, you can learn that this photo was taken by journalist Maksym Levin and is a preview of an exhibition dedicated to the anniversary of the Ilovaisk tragedy.

You can also insert a number from a photo name into the web-service FacebookCreep – the result will be the same. However, Facebook recently began using another algorithm for saving photos. So this has severely limited the service’s usefulness. Vkontakte has also abandoned such types of naming, and now a file name contains only a part of a unique user ID.

Things to pay attention to:

  • When was an account created? If there is no such information in Chronicle, you can check the date of the first profile picture upload. This can help to determine the approximate date of the account’s creation. Twitter accounts can be checked with a special page, Discover Twitter First Tweet. There are similar services for checking the date of registration in Vkontakte.
  • Is a user active in a social network? With whom does he/she interact and how often?
  • Are his/her previous posts linked together with a similar topic?
  • Do the other posts contain information about the latest location of a user?
  • Does this profile belong to a real person? If it does, what other accounts in social networks are registered to that name?
  • Is there any information about the professional activity of a user?

In the case of Twitter, it is not necessary to look through all the tweets of a user in order to answer these questions; instead, you can use, a web-service that analyzes user activity. It gathers the following information: the date of an account’s creation; the number of tweets; the number of followers; the most popular topics, tags, links, and interactions with other users; and the time of the tweet.

Cross-checking the date and location depicted for a photo is also important. You can use Google Earth, Google StreetView, and location-based services described in detail here and here.


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