Why you shouldn’t blindly trust all screenshots

Nowadays, it is very easy to take a screenshot on any device. It has become a regular practice among all walks of life to screenshot a chat and share it with others. By sending a screenshot, people speed up the transfer of information and don’t waste time retelling the entire conversation, it’s convenient! Not so convenient, however, when it comes to sharing screenshots with personal and sensitive details. Whenever we see a screenshot like that we tend to instantly believe its contents.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Screenshots can be recreated realistically, with extensions or websites like FakeDetail.

We came across FakeDetail by pure chance and with the help of some students from a Macedonian school. In a full blown case of bullying, we witnessed a situation of recreated screenshots that began to circulate between students with the sole purpose of undermining the integrity of one student and portray her in an extremely negative light. The website FakeDetail, allowed several bullies to upload the image of the said-student and, pretending to be her, they recreated indecent conversations. Later, they engaged into aggressive sharing of the screenshots among their peers, hoping they could create a problematic situation for the involved party.

Bullying is an everyday problem, especially when it comes to cyberbullying. We wrote about this topic and how best to protect your child here.

By visiting the FakeDetail site, the drop-down menu for Social Media, allows users to choose the social network for the recreation of the screenshot, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or some other network. In the case of Facebook, users will be able to further choose between chat, post or video call:

As it’s clearly evident, things can be “staged” to make everything look extremely believable. You can set whether the screenshot should be for Android or iPhone, set the time and battery status, as well as write the names of the participants in the conversation. To make matters more believable, users can upload all kinds of profile pictures, something that is very easy once you find the authentic Facebook accounts. All that remains is to insert the contents of the text exchange. For the second person, you can set the message to have been sent, delivered, or seen. All changes happen in real time and you see the result instantly.

The purpose of this text is not to spread paranoia or to give ideas and tools to wicked minds. The purpose of this text is to inform you that nowadays, many things are possible. One of those things is creating and sharing vile lies, for all kinds of reasons.

When children are involved, careful teachers and parents will know how to assess, recognize and repair the situation, minimize the damage done. But when adults are involved? The situation might not be as simple. Take your time, think about the motives behind the person that’s sending you the screenshot, and make sure you’re clearheaded before doing something you might regret later.

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