No, Saudi Arabia Did Not Behead Its First Female Robot Citizen

Sophia the robot still has a head on her shoulders.

A satirical article about Saudi Arabia beheading its first female robot citizen is being widely shared — and believed — online.

The Duffel Blog article, which has almost 120,000 engagements on Facebook, has been posted by many people who did not realize it is satire. It says Sophia the robot, the world's first robot citizen, was stoned and beheaded because she was "strutting around the city without a male escort, without a hijab, fluttering her plastic eyelashes at married men while expressing opinions of her own."

A look at the Duffel Blog's "about" page shows the website is meant to be comedic.

"We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization," the section says.

It also claims the publication was started in 1797 and that it reported on "President John Adams’ $200 per week cocaine habit in March 1799."

The website was once called a "military version of The Onion." In 2012, even Mitch McConnell fell for one of its articles.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

As Wired reported, after reading a satirical Duffel Blog article that said Guantanamo detainees were still receiving GI Bill benefits, McConnell wrote a concerned letter to the Pentagon liaison.

The subject of the robot story really does exist, but she hasn't been beheaded. Sophia made headlines this October after being granted citizenship by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"It is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship." Please welcome the newest…

The robot, made to look like Audrey Hepburn, was created by David Hanson of Hanson Robotics. After being unveiled, it showcased its artificial intelligence by shading Elon Musk and owning Jimmy Fallon at rock-paper-scissors.

Still, people online shared the article about Sophia's beheading as if it were true.

Some people used it to promote their own political ideologies.

While others just seemed outraged by some of the details.

Sophia the AI robot being beheaded, however, is definitely fake news.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.