Verify: Did a CDOT sign seriously tell drivers to leave Colorado?

VERIFY – YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS, WE’LL FIND ANSWERS

A 9NEWS project to make sure what you’ve heard is true, accurate, verified. Want us to verify something for you? Email verify@9news.com.

THE QUESTION

An image of a not so welcoming sign to Colorado circulated online Thursday.

The sign reportedly belonged to Colorado’s Department of Transportation, and online articles claimed someone hacked the eastbound I-70 sign to read: “Welcome to Colorado. Please turn around and go back to your states.”

9NEWS’ Verify team noticed a few concerning details in the image, so they decided to investigate whether it was real.

WHAT WE FOUND

If you want to make a road sign telling non-natives to go away, there’s an app for that.
It’s called PhotoFunia, and it’s free to download in the Apple iPhone App Store on your phone. The company also has a website.

When you open the application, the third image from the top features an LED Road Sign that users can customize to say anything they want. It take less than a minute to create your own sign.

And people all over the world have used it.

In Tennessee, a law firm used it to advertise a sign contest for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
And a Twitter user named Tony O’Conor used it to create an advertisement for a radio station.

Now you might be thinking the original image has to come from somewhere, so it’s possible this is a real road sign in Colorado that really got hacked.

You’d be wrong. The image is of a highway in Spain.

Here’s a March 2017 article about radar enforcement from Spain that uses the same image.

And this website, also from Spain, uses the same image to talk about radar enforcement.

We used these articles to track down the original photograph on Shutterstock, an online library of images for purchase.

The photographer took the image of a sign alerting Spanish drivers of upcoming radar enforcement. He also uploaded an image of a blank sign for all your customizing needs.

Finally, 9NEWS spoke to Amy Ford, the spokeswoman for CDOT.

“I’m thinking it’s fake,” Ford said.

CDOT didn’t receive any calls or other communications about a hacked sign this week.

“I didn’t hear about it,” Ford said. “I-70 is a big one. I think a lot of people would have noticed it.”

When people hacked CDOT’s signs in the past, she knew about it pretty quickly. Ford didn’t hear about the hacked road sign until the I’m From Denver website posted the picture.

BOTTOM LINE

Some native Coloradans do feel strongly about the number of people moving to the state, but none of them hacked a CDOT sign this week.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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