Filter Fakers Catches Instagram Photo Phonies

A photo taken with Instagram. Filter or no filter?

Whether it's through Instagram, Twitter or Flickr, smartphone-toting photographers unleash their inner Ansel Adams at the touch of a button, applying one of several different filters to give their photograph an artistic flourish.

But some users will deny using filters and claim that their photos are au naturel. Run a search for the hashtag #nofilter on Instagram, and it'll spit out well over 25 million posts. Among the pictures of vibrant ocean sunsets and brunch dishes of every color of the rainbow, which ones are the real deal?

As sure as some teenage girls stuff their bra or some middle-aged men will try and pass off a toupee as their actual hair, there will always be some people cheating about what they, or in this case their photos, naturally look like. And is catching Instagram users in the act.

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The fourth project from Oskar Sundberg and Per Stenius of, Filter Fakers automatically catalogs whether a no-filter photo is lying. The website will also show which filter was used and provide a link to the user's profile page.

If you have a suspicion that someone you follow, be it friend or famous person, is guilty of no-filter fraudulence, you can submit individual photos for inspection. Granted, the pair acknowledge that you can still get away with posting filtered photos since it only tracks the 19 different Instagram filters. Users can add touch up their own photos using outside apps like Camera+ and they would pass Filter Fakers's test.

Then again, the Swedish developers haven't made it a lifelong mission to expose Instagram hacks for what they are. They're just having fun playing around with social media. Among their other projects are Worldcam, which searches for Instagram photos and sorts them by location, and Go West 2013, which composes tweets promoting gay pride, translates them into Russian, and posts them to Twitter.

They're also not chastising people for using filters, so long they don't hashtag it as #nofilter. After all, that's one of the reasons why the photo sharing service is popular. "Go nuts with the Instagram filters," they say on their website. "But at least be honest about it."