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Understanding metadata

Understanding metadata

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.

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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.

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.

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