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Everything created on a digital device, such as a smartphone or laptop, has a digital fingerprint attached to the file. That digital fingerprint is called metadata. It sticks to the document, whether a video, photo, spreadsheet or other document, until some person or program removes it.
For example, if you take a photo with your phone and view the photo with a metadata viewer, the data will include what phone you used, the date and time, and the latitude and longitude.
It is possible to change metadata. For example, when you pull your photo into Photoshop, you can edit the metadata to make it appear that you were anywhere else in the world. It is essential to triangulate metadata with other elements to confirm or debunk an image.
Sites such as Twitter or Facebook does not pass along metadata. However, Telegram does not remove metadata on videos and photos shared on it, making it possible to know where images were captured.
When you view a photo or video, the metadata can show if the information is accurate or questionable. If the metadata does not match the claims, it is possibly staged.
In addition to examining metadata, researchers also look at smaller details to see if they add up.
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