• Michelle Hebert

Altered image of Emma Gonzalez circulates on social media

This past weekend, a photo shopped image of Florida high school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez spread like wildfire over social media platforms. Gab, “the Twitter-like social network that is a popular refuge for the alt-right,” tweeted an image of Gonzalez ripping the Constitution in half, according to the Washington Post; however, the original photo is of Gonzalez tearing a target in half.

The original photo is from a Teen Vogue story that was released on March 23, 2018, featuring Gonzalez along with other teen gun control activists. Jaime Ellyn Marsanico, Allure & Teen Vogue communications director, confirmed this to CNN.

In the altered image, the ripping of the Constitution is not the only difference spotted, multiple sources reported. The verified Twitter user BeardedGenius tweeted out the differences noticed in the two photos. He claims her under eyes were darkened, her nose was widened, and the shape of her head was changed, according to Independent.

Phillip Picardi, Teen Vogue chief content officer, made a tweet to debunk the idea that Gonzalez ripped up the Constitution: he posted a picture of the original photo next to the photo shopped image. Picardi stated, "the fact that we even have to clarify this is proof of how democracy continues to be fractured by people who manipulate and fabricate the truth," TIME reported.

Along with Picardi, Donald Moynihan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, also made a tweet to prove Gonzalez never ripped up the Constitution: the tweet states, “just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right)," the Washington Post reported along with CNN.

Some people accept the fact that the photo is altered but validated the symbolism behind it. Irma Hinojosa, a Twitter user, commented on the issue: “The picture of Emma Gonzalez is photoshopped, if you didn’t know. It stands true as she is ripping the Constitution with her words… Be mad she’s rallying people to take away the right to defend yourself.”

Gonzalez is a well-known gun control activist who has become a popular image of the #NeverAgain movement started by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. She made a six-minute speech at the March for Our Lives march in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 24, 2018, continuing to push for stronger gun control.