This is what “happened”:
1. After the Peshawar School Attack on Monday December 16 I notice on social media lots of terrible pictures claiming to be taken at the school in Peshawar.
2. As any journalist would do I always use Google reverse image search (https://images.google.com/) to check the authenticity of an image.
3. Before tweeting the shoe pic, I also check it via https://images.google.com/.
4. At the time of my checking, the result on Google reverse image search shows the shoe-pic dating back to august 2014. Google also says: “Best guess for this image: Dead children of Gaza”. (http://bit.ly/1z37dhf)
4. That the shoe picture was already online in august 2014 of course excludes the possibility that the pic was taken in the Peshawar school. So based on the Google reverse search I tweet that the shoe pic is not from Peshawar but from Gaza. My tweet gets a couple of hundred retweets.
5. Later, the BBC also does a story on the pic of the shoe. According to their investigation it is not from Peshawar and also not from Gaza. According to the BBC the picture was taken in May 2008 in the Israeli town of Ashkelon after Palestinians fired rockets at Israel. (link to story here: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30498745)
6. Some tweeps now inform me that the shoe-pic is from Ashkelon. Other tweeps tell me the pic is from the Iraq war. Others say; no,the pic is actually from a different attack in Pakistan. So all in all pretty confusing.
7. Not wanting to make another mistake, I decide to thoroughly trace the history of the shoe-picture. Pakistan? Gaza? Israel? Iraq? By now I am also very curious, because if you can’t even trust Google Reverse Image search any longer, there is a serious problem in the future for finding the source of images.
8. Anyhow, before I finish my story and can publish it on my blog, I’m getting attacked by hundreds of pro-Israeli tweeps who – often very hostile and aggressive – accuse me of being an anti-Semitic scumbag, a dog, a bastard who willingly wants to blame Israelis instead of Palestinians.
So dear people, due to my Syria reporting I am already used to getting many hateful, aggressive comments and threats from ISIS-fan boys. But now – what a joy – it seems I’ve been also discovered by some pro-Israel people.
And that story on the problems with the Google Reverse Image search engine? Everybody is welcome to write about it, because I’m not gonna do it any more.