Washington: A terrifying selfie with a bear, taken by a backpacker in the US, went viral on the social media much before the selfie was found to be fake, media reports said.
The original selfie was taken in May and was posted on photo-sharing website Instagram by Jacob Bean.
Subsequently, many websites, newspapers and blogs posted the picture without verifying the authenticity of the selfie.
It was only the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) that doubted the originality of the selfie and the secret was finally revealed.
"No one except NBC checked the legitimacy of the photograph. This picture was photoshopped as a joke after my backpacking trip in May in the Smoky Mountain National Park because I kept saying I was going to get a selfie with a bear. I never saw a bear. So I made sure it happened!" Bean posted on social media.
But before the truth was revealed, dozens of tourists and backpackers including children tried for a similar selfie.
This led the US Forest Service to issue a warning to visitors not to try such risky selfies with wild animals.