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An Instagram video about Ohio’s new plan for prisoners on death row was produced by The Onion, an outlet known for its satirical headlines and stories.
Ohio’s last execution occurred in 2018, but if you believe a video shared on Instagram, the state just introduced a gruesome execution method.
"Facing mounting criticism that lethal injection is cruel and outdated, Ohio has replaced it with a system that quickly and humanely rips off the heads of death-row inmates using powerful robotic arms," said a woman who appears to be a news anchor. "The new device is designed to be as humane as possible, emitting soothing white noise and putting prisoners on a cushioned seat before its metallic talons dig into their necks and painlessly wrench their heads off."
As the woman described the alleged execution method, a fairly graphic animation played, showing a claw armed robot tearing off the head of a person in an orange jumpsuit.
The video was shared July 12 and has since racked up more than 27,000 likes on a personal Instagram page. It does not signal that the sentiments in the "news segment" it shared were fictional, and some commenters appeared to believe it was factual.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
(Screenshot from Instagram and PolitiFact illustration.)
We also found this video being shared on TikTok as if it were an authentic depiction of an execution method used in Ohio.
The video does not depict a real machine used to execute people in Ohio, however. This video was produced by The Onion, an outlet known for its satirical headlines and stories.
"Lol people should really fact check," one Instagram commenter pointed out. "This was satire from ‘The Onion’. Please do NOT believe everything you see on the internet."
PolitiFact found the original video, which The Onion published in 2014. Although it is a truncated clip, the video shared on Instagram matches the video published on The Onion’s site exactly. The Onion’s logo appears in the bottom right hand corner.
We rate posts sharing this video without clearly indicating that it is satire Pants on Fire!
Instagram post, July 12, 2023
TikTok video, Feb. 4, 2021
The Onion, Ohio replaces lethal injection with humane new head-ripping-off machine, May 20, 2014
The Death Penalty Information Center, State And Federal Info - Ohio, accessed July 17, 2023
CBS News, Ohio governor postpones 3 more executions scheduled in 2023, April 14, 2023
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