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Social networking sites encourage fake gossip

Celebrities “dying” became true in a sense when several well-known celebrities sacrificed his or her own digital life. They said they would not be resuscitated until their fans donated $1 million. Credit: NYTimes.com

By: Rene Howard-Paez

“I’m not dead b—- get real”. That is verbatim from the Jersey Shore’s Snooki’s recent video post in response to the circulating idea that she was dead. In the span of one day, someone decided to post on Twitter that Snooki had died because of a drug overdose. The idea had a snowball effect and eventually everyone was talking about it, creating the idea Snooki was actually dead.

Snooki is not the only celebrity that has been a victim of an “Internet murder.” This new form of false news is a result of the popularity of social media. Recent victims include Aretha Franklin, Paris Hilton, Adam Sandler, Russell Crowe and before he actually died, Michael Jackson.

It seems now people are using Twitter and Facebook for much more than their intended purposes; some people even turning to these web-based mediums to find out their news. Twitter and Facebook can spread a rumor in seconds. People enjoy seeing something they said get swallowed up into millions of hits on the Internet.

Updates can inform a fairly large amount of people from something as simple as the score of a game, to major events and to of course fake celebrity deaths.

Recently, mass updates with false information have been taking over the Internet. All it takes is one person to start a rumor, which can then spread like wildfire throughout the cyber world.

Sophomore Edgar Nieto said he is not surprised. “Many people started getting sports updates on Facebook, but now they use it to get actually news,” he said.

Facebook and Twitter have become real-time newsrooms. With millions of people updating with new tweets and statuses every minute, there is a lot of information floating around.

Sophomore Alex Brooks said she believes social media has taken away from personal relationships. “It dehumanizes and desensitizes people, and people forget about real human emotion and what it feels like,” she said.

This idea would make sense, seeing as how one person can lie about a death, start a craze and get away with it.

Other students like junior Bryan Perez, thinks that believing things you see on these social media sites are inevitable for many, saying that Facebook is many people’s “guilty pleasure.”

These fake celebrity deaths have been sporadically appearing on Facebook for the last couple of years. Other victims include Sinbad, and James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

These social tools have become a whole new monster, one that allows people to do much more than what may have been initially envisioned for it.

With newspaper rates at an all-time low, and more news being consumed on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter are just meeting people’s needs because they are fast.

Although it is a way to receive news, that does not make it the correct way.

“I hope people still actually search and verify their news, not just believe some status,” Nieto said.

Hopefully Snooki does not die again soon.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Social Networks | renehp

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