How an Editors’ Note Fueled Another Kate Conspiracy Theory

When Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer last month, it seemed to quell the rumors that had swirled over her stepping back from public life.

Not for everyone. With disinformation spreading fast online, at times amplified by hostile states, some social media users were primed for skepticism. A note from Getty Images beside the video announcement, released on March 22, said it “may not adhere” to its editorial policy and fanned more conspiracy theories over the video’s authenticity.

There is no evidence, according to researchers, that the video is a deepfake, and agencies routinely attach such notes to content given to them by third parties.

With images easy to manipulate, researchers say that news agencies are being transparent about the source of their content.

Getty says the caption is a standard editors’ note.

The editors’ note, added along with other details, including that Kensington Palace had handed out the video, was short: “This Handout clip was provided by a third-party organization and may not adhere to Getty Images’ editorial policy,” it read.

That disclaimer is not unique to this video. A spokeswoman for Getty Images said on Wednesday that it added a “standard editor’s note” to any content provided by third-party organizations. Other agencies also use such notes routinely for clarity.

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