FACT CHECK: No, Julian Assange Was Not Chosen As Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 800 times purportedly shows Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on the cover of Time Magazine and named as Person of the Year.


Verdict: False

The cover has been digitally fabricated. Time Magazine has chosen Elon Musk as its 2021 Person of the Year.

Fact Check:

The U.S. on Dec. 10 won its appeal in extraditing Assange from the U.K., according to BBC News. Assange will face an 18-count indictment and a possible sentence of up to 175 years for publishing classified documents in 2010 and 2011, and allegedly conspiring to hack into U.S. military databases, the outlet reported.

A Dec. 17 Facebook post shows what appears to be Assange on the cover of Time Magazine named as the publication’s Person of the Year. Text on the supposed cover reads, “The Fight for Truth and Justice: A Life in Isolation.” (RELATED: Were University Of Michigan Football Fans Featured On The Cover Of Time Magazine?)

The cover, however, is not genuine. Check Your Fact searched the publication’s digital vault of Person of the Year covers but found no matches for the Facebook image. Furthermore, the image in the Facebook post does not include a date for the issue in the upper-right corner, as seen in genuine Time Magazine covers.

Time Magazine announced on Dec. 13 that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is its 2021 Person of the Year. The cover can be seen in the Dec. 13 article. Kiasia Truluck, media spokesperson for Time, confirmed this in an email to Check Your Fact, stating, “Elon Musk was named TIME Person of the Year.”

While Assange has never appeared on the cover of Time’s Person of the Year edition of the magazine, he did win the annual Time reader’s poll for Person of the Year in 2010 and 2016, according to articles written by the magazine. The reader’s poll is “a way for readers to voice their own opinions on who has made the greatest impact on the world,” though Time’s editors make the final decision, the publication states. CEO and co-founder of Meta Mark Zuckerberg was chosen in 2010 and former President Donald Trump was chosen in 2016.

The fake cover appears to have been created on a website called Magazine Yourself, which allows users to create fake, customizable magazine covers. One of the website’s numerous templates is a Time Magazine Person of the Year cover that matches perfectly to that of the image shared on Facebook. The website’s URL can also be seen below the barcode included in the image.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter