Let me start by saying that Morgan Freeman, Alfonso Ribiero, Eddie Murphy, and 50 Cent are all alive and well.
Despite the Facebook pages erected in their remembrance, and millions of Tweets repeating the erroneous information, the truth is that these folks are still among the living.
This isn’t the first (and it certainly won’t be the last) time that a celebrity’s death was falsely reported.
News of celebrity deaths travel with light speed over the internet and social media.
Before you know it, a simple falsehood becomes a well-established truth.
And we all get sucked in.
It usually starts innocently enough.
You’re trolling though your Facebook feed, and you come across an “R.I.P. ;” and you’re shocked.
Feeling compelled to share the information with your network, you immediately repost or throw up your own tribute.
Now you’re an unknowing participant in the tom foolery.
The next guy sees your post (and considers you a credible source) so they repost or Tweet the news…
And the wildfire of foolishness spreads.
But why are we so easily drawn into these ridiculous shenanigans?
Why isn’t our first response disbelief?
Why don’t we confirm before we repost?
In this age of the internet, it’s easy enough to figure out whether something is true or not.
Fact-checking isn’t just for reporters or news affiliates, its for all of us.
Especially if we’re repeating the information.
Is it that we want so bad to be the first to post something truly impactful?
Do we want to appear in the know?
Should the desire for attribution overshadow accuracy?
I don’t have the answers.
I learned about Morgan Freeman’s death from one of my frat brothers on Facebook.
I immediately Googled it, because I couldn’t believe it.
And I’m glad I did.
I’d hate to be the source of some BS.