Fact check: North Korean military uniforms are often heavily decorated, but not like image claims

·3 min read

The claim: Image shows North Korean generals with medals pinned to sleeves, pants

An image that has circulated on social media for years is back on Facebook, and people still believe it's real.

The image, shared July 31, depicts at least eight men in heavily decorated military uniforms. They have medals pinned to their jackets, sleeves and pants.

"North Koreans haven't gone to war in 60 years, but look at all the medals their generals are wearing, we could defeat them with a magnet," the caption reads.

The image has accrued over 900 shares and 3,000 reactions.

But this image is altered. While the original image shows the uniformed men with plenty of medals pinned to their jackets, there aren't any on the sleeves or pants.

Fact check: Viral photo of beachgoer wearing face mask is altered

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user for comment.

Photo is altered

A few things hint that the image has been altered. First, the medals pinned to the pants seem to be the result of copy and paste from medals pinned on the bottom right corner of the men's jackets.

The medals and their placements on the sleeves of the last four men in line are also identical.

The unaltered image has been online since as early as 2005, when it was shared on a Russian blog. USA TODAY didn't find the original image as posted by an official entity, but similar photos depict military men with medals pinned only to their uniform jackets.

Fact check: Footage of 2018 earthquake in Alaska misused on social media

The image posted on social media was debunked by Snopes when it was viral in 2016.

USA TODAY found versions of the altered image from as early as 2013 shared on Reddit, Twitter, Know Your Meme and a self-described liberal independent website.

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED the image that claims to show North Korean military generals with medals pinned to their uniform jackets, sleeves and pants. USA TODAY didn't find the official image, but the original version of this image shows the men with medals on jackets only, not sleeves and pants. Similar military photos also show men with nearly identical medals on the jackets only. The images shared on social media have often been shared on humor websites.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image exaggerates medals on N. Korea uniforms

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting