Don’t listen to these ‘kill’joys
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Thursday, 19 August 2010 21:27

Pakistani pop singer Atif Aslam’s death is the latest rumour that has Twitterverse in a tizzy. The musician supposedly succumbed to throat cancer — how ironic — but not to worry, fans, it’s completely untrue. Others claim he was killed in a bomb blast! However, this is not the first time Netizens have ‘killed’ a celebrity.

Just last month it was Dutch DJ Tiesto who allegedly met with a fatal car crash in California. The news even made it to the top 10 popular topics worldwide before Tiesto himself issued a statement saying he was very much alive and kicking. A little birdie also started the rumour that actor Mel Gibson had committed suicide. Another recent victim of celebrity death hoaxes was actor Russell Crowe, who according to stories online, fell from a cliff in Austria.

So what sparks off these stories, and who spreads them? “Obviously people who have nothing better to do,” says student Keerthi K, a fan of Atif. “I’ve come across so many celeb death hoaxes that I don’t know what to believe. When Heath Ledger died, I thought that was a rumour too! Celeb gossip is one thing, but death hoaxes are just not cool.”

As for the reason why Netizens pull these hoaxes, technology manager Thejesh GN points out, “If I say someone famous has died, my followers are going to retweet it and I’ll get loads of new followers. It’s a short cut to becoming popular online.” Social media is so fast that news is always online before it’s broken on television, adds digital marketing professional Santosh P. “Twitter is in real-time and many news stories, be it bomb blasts or natural calamities, have been broken on Twitter before they made news. So people can’t ignore it. The only thing they can do is check if the source is reliable before retweeting something,” he concludes.


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