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Bogus Internet Myths - "I'm not dead yet!"

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon have all unfortunately passed on in the last week.  If you believe everything you read on the net then you probably think that Jeff Goldblum, Natalie Portman and Britney Spears are all dead too.  You need to know where to check out these rumors before you join in the spreading of these Internet lies.

The site Fakeawish (not linked, because they don't deserve to be linked to) has almost single handedly simulated the death of a myriad of celebrities in New Zealand!  All you do is go to this site and put in a name, like Natalie Portman, and they create a fake site that resembles Yahoo News and reports "Natalie Portman dies after falling from cliff in New Zealand!"  You can also choose "Luxury yacht sinks off coast of St. Tropez France" or "Plane crash" but for some reason death in New Zealand seems to attract the most attention.

But fakeawish is not the only purveyor of death, as it was shocking for Britney Spears fans to read the following Tweet on her account, accompanied by a Twitpic of a cross:"Britney has passed today. It is a sad day for everyone. More news to come"  The Tweet and the Twitpic were quickly deleted, but services like Tweetmeme have archived the evidence proving that the message did indeed make it to Britney’s account. Although clearly a hack that was quickly cleared up, it’s still not clear how this posting was created.

Now there are several sites that will help you avoid massive embarassment.  So before you spread these stories via email and Twitter, check out one of these sites:

  • Snopes is set up so you can search for a block of text from the message or entertain yourself by browsing through known hoaxes.
  • Truthorfiction is another great site for de-bunking hoaxes. It works much the same as Snopes and is updated quite frequently.
  • BreakTheChain tries to educate the world that e-mail is an unreliable medium for sharing information and that the first step to reducing the amount of junk out there is to stop sending it yourself. T
  • Vmyths provides the truth about computer security hysteria.

Any of these sites will help you avoid putting your foot in your mouth by telling your friends or co-workers fake stories like:

The more junk you send, the more you will get!  Help stop the rumor madness.

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