Photoshop idea: UI element to identify images modified from their original source

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  • Updated 9 months ago

Photoshop is often used to manipulate imagery in ways that don’t benefit society (promoting unrealistic body expectations or fanning the flames of racial/political divide). For example, an image of a Seattle Seahawks locker-room victory dance—primitively doctored to feature a burning flag—has recently been circulating on social media. To prevent this kind of disingenuous use, I think Photoshop should provide a simple mechanism for identifying images that have been altered in any way. We have conventions for noting these deviations from original source in print (i.e., brackets around changed content) and video (i.e., “This film has been modified from its original format...”), but not static imagery. I feel that Adobe could address a growing societal issue with a simple, unobtrusive UI element that denotes alteration from original format. Something similar to—but more subtle than—a watermark on unlicensed images. I am an Adobe employee (Digital Marketing BU), but don’t know anyone specific with whom to share this idea.

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Kari Woolf

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Posted 9 months ago

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Cristen Gillespie

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Although your idea has good intentions, I can pretty well bet that advertisers (a huge part of the customer base) won't go along with that if it's in any way visible, like a subtle watermark, and most of the people who fall for doctored photos (that being most of us if it's done well, of course), are unlikely to examine every photo to find that subtle badge. In many cases, they even either don't want to know the truth, preferring the story they're being told, or will insist the photo is genuine, but "doctored" to include the subtle badge.

In a world where advertising pays the rent and people are buying dreams, not products, and where what is true is believed false and vice versa, I don't think we can ask Adobe to fix our problems, or expect that they can.  I'm in doubt that throwing all their considerable resources at it would even make a dent in the problem.  No badge can teach critical thinking.
(Edited)