This photo shows a tornado -- but not the one from Thursday near Horseheads, NY.
In fact, the photo dates to 2005, but it's been widely distributed over the past 24 hours on social media. Several major news organizations have also incorrectly cited it as an image from the Thursday storms.
It's unclear who first posted the photo on Thursday, or on what medium. But social media experts warn that fast-moving memes are often built on hoax or misdated images.
Another recent example is the Japan tsunami, when several images showing a wall of water approaching the coast turned out to be photoshopped. Those images were seen far and wide on Facebook, Twitter, and mainstream news before the truth came out.
The National Weather Service is in the southern tier Friday to assess the damage and determine if a tornado touched down on Thursday. Amateur photos and video can provide helpful context, but experts deal with the same difficult questions of provenance that news outlets do.
13WHAM News takes a critical eye to photos purportedly showing major news events. Sometimes such photos are difficult to source. This week's events serve as a reminder that it's important to ask where such images originated.