TwitterDead – Schott’s Vocab Blog – NYTimes.com

TwitterDead – Schott’s Vocab Blog – NYTimes.com.

Celebrities whose deaths have been erroneously reported in cyberspace.

“Viruses may spread quickly on the Internet, but hoaxes can be pretty contagious, too,” Monica Corcoran wrote recently in The Times:

In the same week that Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died, the Web became a hotbed of made-up death reports about various celebrities.

Jeff Goldblum was the first to go. A headline on Google News read, “Jeff Goldblum Has Died, Falls to Death on Set!” Details were murky, but just specific enough to sound plausible. The story went that Mr. Goldblum, 56, had plummeted off the 60-foot Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand while filming a movie.

What started out as a prank soon took on a life of its own. Twitter users retweeted the item, and the community became an echo chamber. Facebook members chimed in.

By the week’s end, the celebrity death toll had turned into a conga line.

Other “late” celebrities included: George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Harrison Ford, Natalie Portman, Randy Jackson and Britney Spears.

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