More on FAQ #107

107. Won’t unqualified photographs on social media that are labeled as “Guaranteed TCQ” damage the credibility of the label?

No. There’s no reason to worry about the credibility of the “Guaranteed TCQ” label even knowing that it will often be inappropriately applied (most commonly on social media).

False claims are nothing new to social media
— and the public becomes more aware of that reality every year.

A large part of what “media literacy” will mean in the 21st century will involve the public becoming increasingly aware of which kinds of websites, which specific websites, and which individuals (including photographers) viewers feel they can or cannot trust.

It is true around the world that problems of falling for false claims arise most often in situations where the public has no access to more credible media, because people have no trustworthy reference point.

Applied to photographs, that means that if the “Guaranteed TCQ” label appeared only on social media, the public would have no reference point for determining which occurrences of the label were legit and which were not; the setting (social media) would always be of uncertain trustworthiness.

But in the free world the “Guaranteed TCQ” label will appear both in

1. contexts where the public has higher expectations of trustworthiness

and also in

2. contexts where the public has lower expectations of trustworthiness.

Viewers will already be skeptical about things (including the “Guaranteed TCQ” label) that they see in #2 contexts.

Realizing that the label was applied inappropriately to photographs in “less trustworthy” (#2) contexts will only reinforce people’s doubts about those contexts.

It won’t damage the credibility of the “Guaranteed TCQ” label itself.

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See also Attributes of trusted websites

“Anyone can toss around the term ‘TCQ’ as casually as they want” (see #7 here).

Viewers don’t mind openly doctored photographs. But they don’t like it when secretly doctored photographs are presented as being undoctored.