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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 20, 2024

AI-generated building imagines life under the U.S. Capitol

If Your Time is short

  • This image doesn’t reflect reality.

A recent Facebook post urged readers to search online to find out more information about an image that supposedly showed a cavernous, multi-storied world under the U.S. Capitol building.

"PREPARING FOR SOMETHING," the March 11 post said. "Google it."

The image appears to show eight floors beneath the Capitol, including rotundas, ornate architecture and multiple levels of well-trafficked roads.

"Underneath the Capitol building," text above the image says. 

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 Facebook)

A small watermark in the image’s corner led us to, a website describing itself as a "robust collection of AI-generated images" that represent "a cutting-edge form of artistic expression" that uses synthetic and photographic elements.

Featured Fact-check

The U.S. Capitol building covers 1.5 million square feet with more than 600 rooms and miles of corridors, but we found no evidence that this image reflects that. 

There’s a Capitol subway system with three lines, two on the side with the Senate chambers and one on the side with the House chambers. 

And, according to Atlas Obscura, "a sprawling pedestrian tunnel system under Capitol Hill allows staffers and members of Congress to securely traverse the office buildings, Library of Congress and Capitol building largely out of sight."

The online "D.C. Underground Atlas," which Bloomberg News described as a "highly detailed interactive history of how underground D.C. came to be," discusses the tunnels under the Capitol and abandoned features of the subterranean structures, such as a "Studebaker automobiles" that were later replaced with monorails. 

In the early 2000s, according to the site, "excavators shoveled out a massive-three story pit under the east plaza" that more than doubled the Capitol footprint" for the Capitol Visitor Center, which is entirely underground.

We contacted the Architect of the Capitol’s office for comment but didn’t hear back. However, we found nothing to support the idea of an underground akin to the one in the 1927 movie "Metropolis."

We rate claims this image shows the Capitol underground False. 


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AI-generated building imagines life under the U.S. Capitol

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