Celebrity Death Hoaxes Made Easy By Twitter

A death hoax involves falsely reporting the death of someone still living. Celebrity death hoaxes are nothing new, but in the new age of Twitter, these simple hoaxes can reach around the world in hours.

The most famous death hoax of all time was the “Paul is dead” rumor of 1968, in which the claim that Paul McCartney of the Beatles had died swept throughout America and Great Britain. A would-be hoaxer simply has to produce an email or webpage that imitates the look of a credible news source. Concerned fans will then forward the fake news story to their friends, inadvertently giving the hoax greater visibility.

That said, many of these hoax’s have surfaced via Twitter in the past few weeks; leaving fans shocked, heartbroken, hurt, and then relieved [once they discover the hot and heartbreaking trending topic was all in ‘good’ fun]. That said, I felt it time to clear up a numerous amount of ‘celebrity deaths’ that have supposedly occurred in the past two weeks…

Aaron Carter Dead of Drug Overdose became one of the hottest topics on Twitter after a Twitter user and supposed friend of Carter’s noted that they couldn’t believe he was “gone” this past Thursday. However, soon after Aaron himself took to Twitter to assure fans that he was alive and well, saying: “This is the real Aaron Carter I know there’s a Hoax Going Around, But I’m Here, Alive & Well. At the compound Working on my mind & soul”. Aaron Carter is alive.

Singer Teena Marie Dead At 54. What initially appeared to be just another Twitter-spawned celebrity death hoax has, tragically, turned out to be a sad reality. Following a rash of tweets proclaiming Marie’s passing, her manager, Mike Gardner, confirmed the death of the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter this past Sunday, after she was found dead in her Pasadena home by her daughter. Teena Marie, the R&B singer known best for her hit songs “Lovergirl” and “I’m a Sucker for Your Love,” has died at age 54.

Aretha Franklin Died In Her Home. Who, this was a big one -we’re talking the Aretha Franklin here people. This past Monday, Twitter began exploding with news of the musical diva’s demise. The Queen of Soul quickly became a trending topic, and the pervasive news quickly made the jump from the social networking site to multiple media outlets. However, this time around, no malicious tweeter or infamy-was behind the hurtful rumor — instead, this fake death was nothing more than a case of mistaken identity. Aretha was mistaken with R&B singer Teena Marie [who did pass away]. How? One of Marie’s nicknames was the Ivory Queen Of Soul [same as Aretha]. Aretha Franklin is alive and well.

Adam Sandler Died After A Snowboard Crash. A fake report claimed that while Sandler was vacationing at a ski resort in Switzerland on Dec. 28, the actor “lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed.” They claimed he was airlifted to a local hospital, but died instantly from the crash’s impact. A rep for Sandler issued a statement shortly after, saying: “It’s completely not true and such irresponsible journalism.” On that note, Eddie Murphy and Charlie Sheen [two other actors said to have passed away recently by a similar fate, are also alive and well].

Morgan Freeman Has Passed Away In His Burbank Home. The rumor began with the just noted stated by a guy with only 1500 followers this past Thursday. Looking legitimate due to the so-noted ‘fact’ added that CNN broke the news, many began retweeting and replying. “This is a common way to begin a hoax on the social network. Nobody fact-checks anything on Twitter, so faking a CNN retweet is a good way to get your fake death notice to go viral.”

So there you have it fans; your favorite and most beloved celebrities are all still very much alive and well [with the exception of one, tragically]. Interestingly, some journalists have noted that, ironically, being the target of such a prank has become a mark of status in our celebrity culture. Do you agree?


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