If you follow Shay Mitchell on Instagram, you’re familiar with the dozens of wanderlust-worthy photos she posts from her trips to destinations like Greece, India, and South Africa. But after an investigation into the pictures from the 30-year-old’s recent vacation in Hong Kong, it seems like at least one of her travel Instagrams appears to be fake and stolen from an outside source.
Over the weekend, the “Pretty Little Liars” actress shared several photos and videos from her trip to Hong Kong on her Instagram story. The pictures featured Mitchell feasting on dim sum, walking through the streets of Hong Kong, and enjoying the city’s sights. But there was one shot in particular that caught our eye.
On her Instagram story, Mitchell posted a photo of Hong Kong’s historic Monster Building, a 60-year-old, highly Instagrammable residential complex in the city’s Quarry Bay. “Night Views,” she captioned the shot. The picture looked like any other shot Mitchell shared from her vacation, until we noticed a peculiar mouse clicker in the corner.
The detail prompted us to reverse-image search the picture, which led us to a travel blog by the photography company Canon. The blog highlighted several tourist attractions in Hong Kong, including the Monster Building. In the section describing the Monster Building, Canon included a picture of the complex that looked awfully similar to Mitchell’s. After analyzing the pictures side-by-side, it appears that they are identical, with the exact same cloud shapes and laundry hangings. The only difference is that Mitchell’s is cropped, angled, and uses a filter.
Though there isn’t a time stamp on Canon’s blog, the post features camera settings and other photos from the same photographer, so we’re going to assume that Mitchell—who is likely too busy enjoying her time in Hong Kong to write hotspot recommendations on a camera company’s website—isn’t the author.
Likewise, the mouse clicker and grainy quality of Mitchell’s Instagram story are other indicators that the photo might have been pulled from the internet rather than snapped on her own phone. Now, we’re not accusing Mitchell of faking all of her travel Instagrams. As you can see, many of them include her in them and look totally authentic. But in this case, the picture appears to be from Google.
No worries, Shay. We all have social media slip-ups sometimes. But maybe next time, move your mouse.