Believe It or Not: Murdered by The Internet

Believe It or Not: Murdered by The Internet

Melissa Hollingshed, Staff Writer

What if the Internet had the power to kill a man? In the case of some world famous celebrities, most recently Bill Cosby, that’s exactly what the Internet did.  Social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook, and websites powered by the everyday person (i.e. Wikipedia) have fabricated the death of certain stars like Rihanna.  In actuality these people are alive and healthy. Most have no knowledge of the pages and will confirm they are doing fine if these pranks become too serious.

Last weekend fans of Bill Cosby, 75, “Googled” the comedian in curiosity of his death. The rumors all initiated from a Facebook page called “R.I.P. Bill Cosby”. This page racked up about 300,000 likes. When users of Twitter got word of this page, like a disease, word spread of Bill Cosby’s death. The page was created by a man named Jonathan Gorman. Bill Cosby tweeted that he was alive and well.

As a follow up to the incident, after being caught in his lie, Gorman states, “I love you all for making me laugh at your stupidity for the past day and a half. You’re great…Before I got to bed, one last thing. I hope you all have learned your lesson. DON’T RELY ON SOCIAL NETWORKING AS YOUR ONLY NEWS SOURCE.” In 2010, Bill Cosby was the victim of this Internet hoax 3 times prior to this incident in 2012. In 2010, Cosby expressed his anger about these social networking sites to CNN saying he wished it would all stop.

Rihanna was also another casualty in these internet pranks. A fake French article wrote that she had died of a heart attack thanks to an “alcoholic induced coma”. On Twitter, Bill Nye the Science Guy was trending because he was also allegedly dead. Many users conveyed their sorrow for losing Bill Cosby and other icons only to find out it was another joke.

Readers of the web need to have a higher awareness of what is the truth and what is a lie. People will continue to make these websites in hopes of becoming popular for creating such a prank. These types of people who create these pages also want to expose the simplicity of how easy it is to trick large sums of people using the Internet.