(CNN)A stunning nighttime image purporting to show hundreds of thousands of people amassing Sunday on the streets of Hong Kong to protest a controversial extradition bill has been widely shared on social media platforms.
That viral photo of the Hong Kong protests is not what it seems
The problem is that the image was heavily edited -- cropped and mirrored -- to multiply the size of the crowd and make it look perfectly symmetrical. It's also been mislabeled, as the original photo was taken a week earlier at another anti-extradition rally.
The image is the first result of a Twitter search for "Hong Kong protests," with more than 28,000 likes and 8,000 retweets. It's also been reposted on Instagram by people including Nathan Law, founding chair of the pro-democracy group, Demosisto.
The image's original author, as first reported by the Asian news site Coconuts, is Deacon Lui, who shared it June 11 on Instagram with the caption, "whatever it takes. ... #noextraditiontochina (photo is cropped and reflected)."
Lui cropped the original picture, which he shared June 10 on Instagram, and reflected it using Photoshop, he confirmed to CNN. He took the original shot, which shows a sea of protesters on Hennessey Road, on June 9 from a building "opposite Hysan mall and beside Sogo," he said.