There has been a recent spate of online ‘attacks’ against celebrities, with the latest trends involving hoax death announcements. This is a worrying progression from online trolling, something which seems to have become a sport.
Earlier this week, child star Macaulay Culkin fell victim to this very type of morbid hoax after a memorial page was started on Facebook. Following an influx of RIP tweets, #RIPMacaulayCulkin began trending around the world via other social media platforms. ‘At about 11 a.m. ET on Thursday (November 06, 2014), our beloved actor Macaulay Culkin passed away,” read the death notice. ‘Macaulay Culkin was born on August 26, 1980 in New York. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.’ Thankfully, Culkin was quick to let his fans know that he was still very much alive.
Sadly this isn’t the only celebrity to suffer from an awful premature death notice. Other celebrities incorrectly declared dead include Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Cosby, Rihanna and Usher.
No cause of death was given for Macaulay, though many of the death fabrications include details such as an unfortunate plane crash, a tragic car accident and even a heart attack. The more details that are given, the more believable the story it seems and therefore the quicker it circulates around social media and begins to trend worldwide.
Is this the consequence of having the media world at our fingertips? I can’t imagine how awful it must feel for the families and friends of the celebrities who could see this and how it must feel to see this about yourself. Celebrity or not, these are real people, with real feelings.
I find it sad that whenever I read a death announcement the first thing I have to do is see if it’s real or yet another hoax.