Fact Check

Does This Photo Show a Real Giant Among Men?

Published July 25, 2023

An AI-generated image of a giant man.  (Reddit/Midjourney )
An AI-generated image of a giant man. (Image courtesy of Reddit/Midjourney )
An old photograph posted on Twitter in July 2023 authentically showed a giant human towering above a crowd.

On July 23, 2023, Twitter user @Thinkwert posted a grainy photograph appearing to show a giant human walking in a crowd, and it had garnered over 3.5 million views. The account is known among its 25,000 followers (as of this writing) for posting images of the esoteric, fantastical, and weird — often with original captions to match. 

While some expressed awe at the towering human, Snopes found the image was created by artificial intelligence, or AI. While AI-detection tools can be fickle, Hive Moderation reported the image overwhelmingly likely to be AI-generated, a declaration supported by the AI-detection software at Illuminarty.

The earliest iteration of the post came from a Reddit forum highlighting AI creations via a software tool called Midjourney. The post was dated April 26, 2023. That caption simply read: "The last of the giants being paraded through the streets circa 1890."

Needless to say, both that characterization and @Thinkwert's bit above about giants roaming the United Kingdom were entirely works of fiction. 

"[A]part from a few isolated and unusually-tall-but-certainly-not-supernatural skeletons recovered in excavations, archaeologists have not yet uncovered a race of giant bodies littering the land of Canaan," said Brian Doak, professor of Biblical studies at George Fox University. Nonetheless: "Conspiracy theories abound."

AI-generated photographs, including the aforementioned giant, very often have telltale signs of manipulation — in other words, no AI-detection software needed. Many of the faces in the background, including that of the child that appears between the giant's legs, are distorted and warped even beyond what's expected from an older camera. Hands, too, can be a dead giveaway that an image is fake. In this case, the child seems to have just one leg and no hands at all. The man in the left foreground, meanwhile, appears to have just three or four fingers per hand, as does the giant. 


Artificial Intelligence Archives | Snopes.Com. https://www.snopes.com/tag/artificial-intelligence/. Accessed 25 July 2023.

Doak, Brian R., "The Embarrassing and Alluring Biblical Giant" (2015). Faculty Publications - College of Christian Studies. 204. http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ccs/204

"Fact Check: Images of Alleged Giant Human Skeletons Are Altered." Reuters, 3 Mar. 2021. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-giant-skeletons-hoax-idUSKCN2AV20V.

Hive Moderation. https://hivemoderation.com/ai-generated-content-detection/?demo=image. Accessed 25 July 2023.

Illuminarty. https://app.illuminarty.ai/. Accessed 25 July 2023.

Lee, David Emery, Jessica. "4 Tips for Spotting AI-Generated Pics." Snopes, 16 Apr. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/articles/464595/artificial-intelligence-media-literacy/.

Sarah Baum is a former reporting fellow for Snopes.