If you’ve followed “trending” or Twitter for the past 6 months you’ll have noticed an alarming increase in the number of celebrity deaths being reported, only to be confirmed later as hoaxes.
Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy are the latest victims of these somewhat dangerous internet hoaxes, but both are fine and well – and not dead.
The first major problem with such hoaxes is that they become viral very quickly and many readers are convinced that the stories are true, as the majority don’t cross reference their news sources. It is our duty to look for the facts and make sure we possess them; otherwise we run the risk of looking plain stupid.
Such misinformation is dangerous not only to the celebrities involved, but also to us as a society, because if we continue to accept everything we read at face value we could easily become the victims of much more nefarious schemes.
Back to the issue at hand though, Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy are both alive and well. The regularity of hoax celebrity death stories is increasing, and yesterday Twitter once again provided the Petri dish on which the viral experiment grew at an alarming rate.
Owen Wilson’s supposed death was started by an internet group calling themselves Global Associated News. The site apparently claimed that Wilson, (set to star in Little Fockers) crashed into a tree while snowboarding in Zermatt, Switzerland, and died from his injuries.
Upon closer inspection of the site, and a quick click on the “Home” tab, readers are redirected to a site called Fake a Wish. The site encourages users to put a celebrity name into a text box which then generates fake articles about them.
It is nothing more than clever marketing using celebrities as a way of generating website hits.
In response to the initial viral news spread, Owen Wilson’s representative called the reports “absolutely false”.
We reported months back that Wilson had attempted suicide, and that could have given some credibility to the rumours currently circulating, although they have now been firmly dispelled.
Another Hollywood icon, Eddie Murphy was also said to have died in the same place as Wilson and in the exact same way. Not for the first time this year has Murphy passed away, as he apparently died in January while working on a film adaptation of popular video game Left4Dead, but like reports yesterday, they too were faked.
Both “new messiahs” will undoubtedly avoid the Alpine ski slopes in their latest respective incarnations.
Murphy’s agent said, “Trust me, Eddie Murphy is very much alive and well, and definitely not in Switzerland snowboarding.”
What do you think of these celebrity death hoaxes? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
images: sheknows.com, actors.pick2web.com