The former British National Space Centre used to publish exotic 'satellite' images of Europe many years ago: I am thinking perhaps mid-1980s, which were sold as expensive semi-arthouse prints.
I cannot remember which satellite was claimed to be the source, but the important point is that BNSC back then justified the impossibly-clear cloudless pictures as having been a 'mosaic composite', created from multiple shots taken over many months. I'd be prepared to bet that something like this (or a modernised version) will be the explanation for this alleged current world-pic.
Let's think more deeply about the source of these international lights. Streetlights during nightfall. I wonder if the aggregate per-city spectrometric color is consistent with street-light (sodium vapour) and/or neon mixtures? This technique can be supposedly applied to indicate within a few percentage certainty the elemental composition of distant stars and planets- it can be retro-applied to pictures of earth, surely? Or perhaps could be applied, if this was not such an obviously 'enhanced image'.
We see the solar terminator supposedly over the Pacific, so let's say that it's already sunset in Hawaii, whilst the world spins like clockwork from west-to-east. Presume that this was 16.00hrs local time this evening (UTC -10hrs). When we look at the hemisphere as presented, why is there so much of the world in darkness that we can see?
If it was sunset just west of the western coastline of the Americas (which is how this is depicted), that would be 150deg west of the Greenwich meridian, but sufficiently-close to the west coast of the USA to justify the streetlights to be lit (as per the picture), so let's say that it's roughly 18.00hrs in Alaska/ almost into California...again because they are purported to all have their street-lighting lit.
But if we then look forward to the west coast of Portugal, they would be at midnight 00.00hrs (UTC -1hr)...(what the hell is happening further east, with that enormous straggle of lights in Egypt??) ...why do we see the Arabian penninsula in total darkness, since if it's midnight in Portugal, should it not be headed for morning, maybe 05.00hrs??.
And..can we see all the way from more than 150deg west of Greenwich, round to about 60deg east?? That we can see more degrees of the world in this picture than the 180 we should just be able to? I'm just basing this on rough estimates from flat maps, I don't have a real physical 'home globe' to compare with.
Also- this may just be perspective, but is Greenland not too far away from north-eastern Canada? Or under-sized?? http://geology.com/articles/northwest-passage
Finally...I'm gettin a bit of a porthole effect, when I look at the night-world shot. Probably just an optical illusion, but at least that would help explain why a circular shape is being seen instead of an oblate spheriod...