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Earlier in the week there was a torrent of social media information about Jackie Chan dying of a heart attack. This was picked up across Twitter and Facebook trending to the top of the the social media platforms as well as ranking high among the Google search trends.
This rumor started and spread extremely rapidly requiring Jackie Chan’s publicity team to update their Facebook account to report that he was indeed alive and well having suffered no such heart attack.
Social Media can be a powerful reporting tool for breaking news, but can also become privy to the worst form of gossip storms. It doesn’t take much to make a rumor or fake report about a celebrity go viral and these stunts can be setup to lead traffic to a site which can try to just benefit from visibility, CPC ad sales, infecting with Trojans, or just simply to gain some publicity.
In this day and age nothing should be believed when shared on Social Media unless you manually validate the information yourself. This is why trusted reporting and media sites are still popular turn to places and won’t be replaced by social media reporting and will only be augmented by it.
Beware the powers of social media and what you retweet and spread across the social networks, because with broadcasting power comes responsibility.