Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.

The One Coding Trick that Everyone Should Learn

1 min read

Everything on the web can be edited in real-time. These days, most people understand the concept of “photoshopped” images (aka. edited, or enhanced images), but in 2019 you need to be aware that images on the web can also be “DevTooled.”

What are DevTools?

DevTools is a powerful feature of Google Chrome browser that allows you to edit the web in real-time. While it’s often used by web developers to debug code, it is also used by web designers, and product managers to suggest copy and layout edits

How to Edit the Web in Three Easy Steps

1) Go to a website and right-click any word 

2) Choose “Inspect”

Edit the Web with DevTool

3) Edit the text

devtools example

Instagram can be edited

I updated this Instagram post from 87 likes to 1,343,534! ❤️

Edit instagram likes with web dev tools
In order for the DevTools to work on Instagram, you’ll need to visit Instagram in the browser.

The news can be edited

new york times hack

Bank accounts can be edited

I’m a millionaire!

my bank account screenshot
You can use the DevTools to edit your bank account. You can also edit your account number in case you ever want to send a screenshot of your bank account, but you don’t want random people to see your private info (aka. like right now).

Fake news in real-life (using DevTools)

DevTools has also been used to create fake news.

In 2018, Shaun Usher edited a Tweet by President Trump where he changed the altered the date from 2018 to 2015 (three years in the past). The Tweet got 6,543 RTs, meaning that likely over 60,000 people saw this Tweet.

Shaun Usher's Trump Tweet Fake News

Is it funny? Or dangerous? I’ll leave that up to you — I’m staying out of the political cross-fire on this particular Tweet. The takeaway: is just how easy it is to create fake news, and that we need to be more careful of what we see and believe on the web. We all need to be more discerning when it comes to trusting screenshots on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The web is easily editable. 

Final Thoughts

With great power, comes great responsibility. Please edit responsibly, and don’t create more fake news. The best thing you can do is spread the news on how easy it is to edit the web so that we can all be better educated.

In summary:

  1. None of these edits are permanent! The DevTools are only editing locally on your computer. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about anyone finding out they are editing your site.
  2. Don’t create fake or intentionally misleading news. But if you make something fun, or funny you can share it with us at @onemonthedu.
  3. Stay educated on how the web works. 

Want to learn more about the DevTools? I created a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the DevTools.

You don’t need any coding knowledge to get started, although of course if you do know the basics of HTML and CSS you can really take these skills to the next level.

 

Learn to Code Comment Avatar
Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.

3 Replies to “The One Coding Trick that Everyone Should Learn”

  1. And if you refresh the page, will the changes made in the code editor be saved and will be visible to end users?

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