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Conspiracy theorists have been circulating a fake Time magazine cover since 2018, showing figures covered with the logos of American technology and media companies hanging. Despite being a manipulated image, it began to circulate again, this time on certain Telegram channels in Spanish.
A image It is supposed to represent the most recent cover of the American magazine Time has been circulating widely on Telegram channels popular with Spanish-speaking conspiracy theorists. Our fact-checking colleagues at Malditas.es noticed the trend and set out to discredit him.
The post shared next to this photo reads: “Latest Time Cover. Could this be related to the possible blackout that will affect Europe? This is a reference to a rumor that has circulated widely among conspiracy theorists that all of Europe will soon be hit with a electricity blackout. The rumor is linked to the Austrian Defense Minister’s decision to launch a program to plan and manage this possibility, which started on October 6.
The image shows human figures hanging from the letters that spell Time. The figures are depicted as dark silhouettes, and their bodies are covered with the logos of many major media and communication organizations, including Netflix, Washington Post, Reddit, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter. The phrase “high treason” is written in white to the left of the image.
Why is it false?
There are some clues that show us that this cover is really fake.
First of all, you can check out all the covers of Time magazine at this link – and there is no trace of it. The October 25, 2021 cover actually, and somewhat ironically, features Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, not the image with the silhouettes covered with media logos, as many of these posts claim.
The next issue, due out on November 8, shows various world leaders attending COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference being held in Glasgow this year. Again, nothing to do with the hanging figures.
Also, this fake cover is not new, it has been around for a long time.
If you do a reverse image search (click here to see how), then you will find that this image has been around since at least July 2018. It appears in the archives of various far-right-populated blogs and forums. and conspiracy theorists based both in the United States and elsewhere (e.g., featured in this italian blog).
The fake cover has also been circulating on Twitter since the summer of 2018. Far-right users often post it when they are frustrated with official media sites like CNN or even Time magazine itself.
The fake Time cover may have been designed using the actual coverage as of July 2, 2018. That number shows Donald Trump looking at a Honduran girl who is crying. Some versions of the fake cover have that date in the upper right corner.
Our fact-checking colleagues at Maldita also noticed that, in some versions of the image, Fox News appears in the far left silhouette. In other versions, however, this popular means of communication among Donald Trump fans has been removed (as in this picture).
We also found This version of the fake cover, which featured the symbols of the Republican Party (the elephant) and the Democratic Party (the donkey), as well as the logos of various American institutions.
In the latest chapter of this saga, users of the Rafapal telegram channel, where the image had been circulating widely until recently, actually recognized it as false. It has since disappeared from the canal.
Other fake covers
It is quite common for people, in one form or another, to make plays on the covers of Time magazine, which is known for having powerful and visual cover images. There were actually a few different altered versions of the July 2, 2018 cover that circulated: some for and some against Donald Trump.