Fact Check-Time magazine cover with Julian Assange as “Person of the Year” is not real

A fake cover of Time magazine naming WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as “Person of the Year” has circulated on social media.

Sample posts sharing the fictitious homepage can be viewed here, here, and here.

The articles show Assange on what appears to be the front page of Time magazine for his “Person of the Year” edition.

Text below is a portrait of 50-year-old Australian readings. “The fight for truth and justice: a life in isolation”.

According to the magazine, “Person of the Year” means someone “who has most affected the news or our lives, for better or for worse” (here).

In an email, a Time spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the image was not genuine Time coverage and that Assange had not been named “Person of the Year.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been named ‘Person of the Year’ for 2021 (here).

The fake cover is also not displayed in the “Vault,” an archive on Time’s website where most of the previous editions can be viewed (here).

Other indications that the cover has been edited include inconsistencies with typical Time magazine covers, such as there is no release date in the upper right corner.

Although Assange was not selected as “Person of the Year,” he won the most votes in the magazine’s “Person of the Year” reader poll in 2010 and 2016 (here and here).

The poll would be a “way for readers to express their own opinions on who had the most impact on the world in 2016”; however, the magazine’s editors make the final selection for “Person of the Year”.


False. The cover is not real. Assange did not appear on the cover of Time magazine as the publication’s “Person of the Year”.

This article was produced by the Reuters fact-checking team. Read more about our work to check social media posts here.