FotoForensics & Error Level Analysis (ELA)

An online digital photo forensics tool like uses Error Level Analysis (ELA) to discover the error level differences on a photograph that was saved using a lossy compression algorithm, like JPEG. ELA algorithm enables us to determine if a photo was digitally modified. Similar surfaces and similar edges should appear similar under ELA. If not, it might indicate a digital manipulation.

Flat-Earthers like to use ELA to ‘prove’ a photo has been tampered with. It occurs because they do not understand how ELA works. Most of them appear to assume if the picture is an original, it would show a uniform ELA. Using such a digital forensic ‘skill’, we can actually ‘prove’ all digital photos as fake.

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JPEG Compression

JPEG is a method of lossy compression of digital images. When a photograph is saved in the JPEG format, some details imperceptible to our vision are discarded. The JPEG compression reduces the file size at the expense of perfect image reproduction.

Flat-Earthers like to perform “investigations” by adjusting brightness, contrast, levels or curve of an image to find evidence of tampering. If they find irregularities, they will proclaim the picture has been faked. In most cases, these are only JPEG compression artifacts and do not prove anything.

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