Morgan Freeman Death Hoax: How It Happened
By Zach Dionne Posted Dec 17th 2010 08:58AM
Turns out it was just a regular guy on Twitter playing a joke that caught fire.
"How did the rumor begin?" Slate.com asks. "Blame it on @originalcjizzle, a guy with nearly 1,500 followers who is fond of calling people 'jive turkeys.' Just before 5PM ET, @originalcjizzle tweeted: RT @CNN: Breaking News: actor Morgan Freeman has passed away in his Burbank home<< wow legendary actor #RIPmorganfreeman."
C. Jizzle's post feigned CNN's authority; anyone can perform a manual retweet regardless of its veracity. "This is a common way to begin a hoax on the social network," Slate writes. "Nobody fact-checks anything on Twitter, so faking a CNN retweet is a good way to get your fake death notice to go viral."
UPDATE: C. Jizzle told PopEater via e-mail: "All I have to say right now is that I apologize to Mr. Freeman and to CNN," adding, by way of clarifying erroneous media reports about his origins -- "and I'm not a rapper."
Twitter user Peter Shankman, who WENN calls "Freeman's pal," quickly cleared up the rumor:
After much Internet buzz -- including, according to Mediaite, Borders Bookstore retweeting the false CNN post and adding, "Goodbye to another one of the greats" -- CNN jumped in to clear up the situation:
And eventually the originator of the hoax himself let loose a series of tweets explaining:
We're thrilled one of our finest actors (and arguably the hands-down finest voice) is alive and well -- although it's certainly disarming how much steam this rumor picked up compared to the fairly transparent death hoaxes surrounding Bill Cosby, Kanye West and Betty White.
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