Yesterday was like any other day for Morgan Freeman. The five-time
Academy Award nominee woke up, ate some breakfast ran some errands, and didn't
die. So why is some jokester
on Twitter saying he did? And, perhaps
more importantly, why are otherwise responsible people listening to said
jokester? Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo
offers a compelling account of
how the news of Freeman's non-death spread so quickly, plus tips for other cherished character actors on how to avoid a similarly
gruesome, hastily-retracted demise:
Morgan Freeman isn't dead.
didn't report that Morgan Freeman was dead. For a few minutes on
Thursday afternoon, though, Twitter erupted with news of the gravelly
voiced star's untimely demise ... Blame it on @originalcjizzle, a
guy with nearly 1,500 followers who is fond of calling people "jive
turkeys." Just before 5 p.m. ET, @originalcjizzle tweeted:
Breaking News: actor Morgan Freeman has passed away in his Burbank
home<< wow legendary actor #RIPmorganfreeman
This was a
fake retweet: @originalcjizzle was pretending to pass on a tweet from
CNN...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.
Given how easy it is
to start this kind of rumor, it's surprising that we're not inundated
with more fake celebrity deaths ... Morgan Freeman is just young enough
for people to be surprised by his death but just old enough that his
death doesn't seem completely out of left field. He's famous enough for
you to care that he died but not so famous that you're likely to have
been up to date on his health.
In other words: watch out, Kevin
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