Eli5: Why are so many memes/Screenshots blurry or have a weird fuzz?


I’m sure you know what I mean I’ve you’ve seen a screenshotted conversation that had a weird fuzz or blur. My first assumption in that case is that it’s photoshopped but the question still remains, why would you purposely do that or what is actually causing it..?

In: Other


Hello 🙂

JPEG files use compression with loss of quality. The file format is so efficient as it only saves “important” things, e.g. if you have a background that’s mostly black, it will just save black segments, or areas that are very similar, will just be re-used. (Very simplified description).

You can adjust the level of compression, and usually it’s fine. The quality trade-off is minimal, while files are much smaller. On pictures with lots of stuff and gradients, real photos, you hardly notice it. On line drawings it’s often more noticeable.

SO it’s fine when you save the image the first time… But if instead of downloading and re-submitting it, you take a screenshot of a meme picture, and save it again, it will compress it again. And thus further decrease the image quality once more.


After multiple people have done it, it’s really adding up and showing as artifacts/noise.

This has kind of gotten a meme itself, and now you can even simulate the effect on sites like https://morejpeg.com/

Have fun! 🙂