If I have 2 similar images, can it be inferred as evidence that one is a photoshop of another if the first one has EXIF Original Transmission Reference field, while a second one does not?

(the question is generic, but the specific impetus for asking was trying to verify if a specific image is photoshopped on Skeptics.SE)

  • @dpollitt - I tried to do exactly that. I explicitly said "which - while not a proof" and that it seems to be consistent (as opposed to is). But I'm not expert enough on cameras and EXIF to be certain, thus this question. I'll add the link to this question laer
    – DVK
    Aug 16, 2014 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


Any metadata can be altered quite easily, therefore slightly sophisticated forgery may alter the metadata such that it looks more original than the actual original. It isn't difficult for instance, to forge the job id of photograph.

However, supposing that the metadata is just one out of many other evidences, the state of the metadata of a photograph can act as a supporting evidences. In your example, the quality of the photograph and that the supposedly photoshopped image is cropped smaller form a much stronger evidence than the metadata. A more direct evidence though, it is supposedly impossible for an outsider to alter the posting date on the Facebook post without leaving edit trails in Facebook's system, unless Facebook is part of a conspiracy to cover up "some unwanted, leaked image".

Whether this type of evidence will be good to establish beyond reasonable doubt for legal purposes, you need to ask a lawyer.

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