15 Important People Who Were Killed By The Internet

Impatience in the Internet age only leads to reporting false information. A handful of legitimate news organizations have even gone on to report the wrongful deaths of some beloved famous figures. That’s what happens when you don’t pause to go deep. Dare2GoDeep with The Economist from now on so you don’t get caught up in another one of these crazy hoaxes.

1. Eddie Murphy

A frequent target for these situations, Eddie Murphy has been declared dead over the Internet by way of a major car accident, and an unfortunate snowboarding accident four times alone.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

2. Dave Matthews

In 2007, a CNN article surfaced stating Matthews had died of a drug overdose (with similar rumors surfacing in 2003). The hoax was all the work of a sneaky person who mimicked the website’s content interface, and hosted the fake updates from their home.

John Shearer / Getty Images

3. Morgan Freeman

The iconic actor endured three separate social-media fueled hoaxes in 2012 alone.

Ian Walton / Getty Images

4. Bill Cosby

When the unforgettable and beloved comic endured his fifth hoax in 2012, it was a nation-wide trending topic, and it spawned a rogue Facebook community memorial surpassing 300,000 members.

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

5. Cher

When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away, Twitter users became confused by the trending topic #nowthatchersdead, reading it improperly “Now That Cher’s Dead,” and collectively melted down without double-checking proper news outlets on the real status of the legendary star.

Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

6. R. Kelly

A website called Global Associated News published a piece on May 5, 2013 claiming Kells had died in a jet ski accident in Turks and Caicos. Word quickly spread through the Twitterverse before readers had the time to scroll down the page of the news story to read the caveat that the story was 100% fake and for entertainment purposes only.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

7. Bill Nye

The hero of middle school science classrooms everywhere was widely reported dead across Twitter, trending twice in 2011, and once in 2012. After the 2012 incident, and confirming his well-being, he actually leveraged the chatter in a productive direction and reemerged with new material, releasing a series of short web videos about the importance of teaching evolution in classrooms.

Kevin Gallay / Getty Images

8. Jon Bon Jovi

In 2011, a website posing as a legitimate news organization (that has since been shuttered) reported that he had suffered a cardiac arrest, then passed away in a hospital. With no disclaimer on the report, and a story left unconfirmed, fans still immediately took to Twitter to mourn. He confirmed he’s still (wanted dead or) alive that Christmas.

David Bergman / Via facebook.com

9. Jackie Chan

The action movie hero has over 50 memorial Facebook pages in his honor after two major death hoax incidents in 2011 – each resulting from social media rumors he’d suffered a heart attack.

Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

10. Kel Mitchell

By 2006, social networks were not yet booming. No one had heard from the former Nickelodeon star in a long time, and rumors of his death suddenly began to circulate by way of an “official statement” that spread via email.

Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

11. Jaleel White

Likewise, the “loss” of the actor well-loved as Steve Urkel went down around the same time in 2006, originating from a message on MySpace.

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

12. Sinbad

In the early years before Wikipedia was more closely monitored, reports of the stand-up comic’s passing made it to news organizations once someone published an unconfirmed edit to his page. The first call the comic got asking to confirm the news came from his own daughter.

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

13. Britney Spears

In 2009, the pop star’s TwitPic account was hacked, sending out messages that outright said she had passed.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

14. In that same week’s span of time in 2009, hackers also created death hoaxes for Jeff Goldblum…

By way of taking a fatal fall on set in New Zealand.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

15. and Harrison Ford.

Both reports surfaced during the launch of a now-defunct site that could generate bogus stories from news-writing templates.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Yikes. Go deep before you Tweet!

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