Hi there! I'm Ryan, I work for BuzzFeed News and I'm currently visiting BuzzFeed Brazil (pictured below). I'm in São Paulo this week learning about Brazilian internet culture. That's me on the left wearing the cool red cut-offs.
One of the funniest things the team here told me about was the blog Avril Esté Morta.
It's a long rambling Blogspot page, comparing old photos of Avril Lavigne with new photos of Avril Lavigne. Look at the differences in her nose and stuff!
And look at these arrows pointing at her wrist or something.
The blog, as you might have guessed by the title, purports that at some point between 2002 and now, Avril Lavigne killed herself and was replaced by an actress.
Even better, the new actress Avril Lavigne might be trying to tell people about the secret switcheroo in her lyrics.
The theory has floated around South American social media for a while. But none of the message boards or websites talking about it have more than few thousand subscribers.
And chances are, most Americans probably haven't heard about it until recently. The BuzzFeed Brazil staff told me it was kind of an inside joke.
On Wednesday, I tweeted about my new discovery. I love dumb conspiracy theory stuff. I also love Avril Lavigne.
I started tweeting about the hoax with screenshots. I thought it was a funny thing and left it at that. Also, a bunch of Brazilian Avril Lavigne fan accounts started threatening me and I got scared.
But because this is the internet, it looks like things have kind of gotten out of control. First, Paper Magpicked it up on Thursday, writing, "A CONSPIRACY THEORY SAYS AVRIL LAVIGNE IS DEAD AND HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A DOPPELGANGER".
And then that same day, VICE's NOISEYwent with "INVESTIGATING THE CONSPIRACY THAT SAYS AVRIL LAVIGNE WAS KILLED OFF AND REPLACED WITH AN ACTRESS".
And on Friday, Gawkerposted "Did Avril Lavigne Die in 2003?: An Internet Conspiracy, Explained".
According to social tracking site, Buzzsumo, those three sites on Friday have shared this theory, like, 13,000 times on Facebook alone. Who knows who else is posting about it.
According to Twitter tracking service Topsy, my tweet was the first instance of "Avril actress" this week. The first of the tweets look like they're about some French lady or something.
Here's a Google Trends graph for "Avril dead" just for good measure.
The problem is, the Avril death conspiracy is all a big hoax! Remember when I said it was kind of an inside joke in Brazil?
The opening line of the original blog post is: "Esse blog foi uma forma de mostrar como teorias da conspiração podem parecer verdadeiras" or "This blog was created to show how conspiracy theories can look true."
Avril Esta Morta is part of a network of blogs all about the same thing, what if a celebrity died and was secretly replaced. There are ones for Miley, Selena Gomez, even Paul McCartney.
The point of the blogs is to prove how easy it is to start a big internet conspiracy theory. Which is then exactly what happened this week! All because of my dumb Twitter account.
So there you have it. The internet is super weird. Also, if you're going to believe ANY Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory, you should go with this one. This one is DEFINITELY a real one.