Because the Internet is full of people anxious to prove or disprove events, even those supported by photographic evidence, we're following up on our earlier report about a Google Street View driver with an active middle finger. The guys who took the photo claim it's real and are peeved the Internet doesn't believe them.
When we first ran the image we thought it was likely real. A touch skeptical? Yes, but a real skeptic is never going to survive one day on the Internet. After running it we were horrified to discover our peers at Gizmodo and the collective wisdom of Reddit dismissed it as a likely photoshop based on some strange artifacts in the image. And because of some of the pixels. And because they've seen quite a few shops in their day.
Disappointed, we quickly and radically altered the post to reflect the then apparent reality that it was of course a photoshop. OF COURSE. ISN'T IT OBVIOUS?
Fast forward to later in the day when Travis Oliver and Stephen Brown, the alleged driver and photographer, respond to defend themselves. Here's what Oliver said:
Your headline and information about the picture of the girl in the Google Street car is 100% wrong. I took the picture with my friend's Android phone on I-64 East right before the Coliseum Drive exit. The photo is in no way photoshop and the incident was in no way provoked. We saw the car and like most people thought it would be cool to get a picture. I tried to take a few but they came out blurry. I finally was able to get a clear one which is the one you have posted and noticed at that point that she was flicking us off. She then immediately exited off the interstate. Just thought I would shoot you an email since I'm sure the accuracy of your articles, even the humorous ones, is important.
Indeed, and thank you Mr. Oliver for reaching out. We then received another email from Mr. Brown, who relayed a similar story and added that he's uploaded the shot in full to Flickr and says we can look at the EXIF data to "Verify it has not been altered."
Well, EXIF data is just text so that could be altered, too. NEVER BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET. EVER.
I sent the photo to Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo's beard enthusiast and resident photoshop expert, who is unconvinced either way.
"Looking at the Flickr version, there's no apparent modification. It just looks like she has a very long nail and there's some deformation because of a crappy sensor," Diaz said via IM. Awesome, and then he added "But I can argue that it was modified just the same."
Thank you, as helpful as ever. In response to Jesus confusing the shit out of me today I've created this photoshop of him. It turns out the base photo is of him looking at 3D porn.
Is the shot above real? Probably, but I don't really care at this point. To quote Oliver:
I love watching this go down on Reddit. All I can hope is that the world never has to rely on Reddit users for anything of dire importance
Did we mention 3D porn is a real, verified thing?