You’re Dead: Fake News on Social Media



Titanic sort of sank for the third time in October, 2013 when Global Associated News, a prankster website reported Celine Dion’s death in plane crash. The very official sounding site had not been idle in the past either. It had been fabricating stories about celebrity deaths as a matter of routine. Eddie Murphy, Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman had all died in its pages. Don’t be surprised if you find more and more fake news on Social Media and if you were elevated to the position of a celebrity and find yourself dead (and buried deep) on your Facebook page.

Sandy Slamming Liberty



Hurricane sandy, though a sad happening, had sparked a deluge of fake photos that were shared on Facebook. A 2004 photo by Mike Hollingshead was cleverly morphed into an arresting photograph wherein the storm was seen whirling around the Statue of Liberty.

Cancerous Rumor

How can they leave Justin Bieber alone? The hoax had him being diagnosed with cancer. His fans were urged to shave their heads to show their solidarity with him. A YouTube video displayed Bieber’s shaven head and photoshopped Tweets purportedly from him.

Not Too Far into the Future

Back to the Future doc sets a random date in the Delorean, you surely remember, don’t you? 28 years after the movie made history, someone got smart and put a Photoshopped image on stream which said that was the day (June 27, 2012) as future.  So, what is fake about this? Why, the date actually was set for Oct 21, 2015.

Facebook’s IPO Triggers a Hoax

The altar of the most popular social medium Facebook is not anything sacred for the hoaxers. A June shocker had put Facebook users in a tizzy. Everybody scrambled to put their account out of harm’s way.  The rumor that prompted such hurried action was advising the users to repost a message failing which their privacy would be compromised. Can a company’s IPO initiations affect the privacy of users? That is what the message claimed would happen. Everybody got into the act and the fake message was flying hither and thither.

Kidnapping Oneself

 16 year old Kara from New Jersey could not have imagined that her tweet would make many of her retweeters “disgusted” with her when they found that her tweet about her not being alone in her house and that she had an intruder.  Her tweet had gone viral and a quickly got up #HelpFindKara started trending worldwide. The retreats quickly grew to 34,000. The police got into action but soon found that they had a false alarm on their hands.  The girl was actually taking a stroll on the highway when they found her.

Not all is Fun

Social media fans have learnt to take the news, however credible it is, with a pinch of salt. But, the real danger lies in some respectable print and electronic media circles choosing to publish the rumors without verification. Their cup of woe would overflow if they thought that they were prudent in not publishing news item but find that a rival had done it and the news had turned out to be true.

In short, you are forked if you do; you are forked if you don’t!