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R.I.P. Miley Cyrus

Author: Melinda Aley

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” – Mark Twain.

This quote was Mark Twain’s response to the rumors of his death that had spread across the United States. Because of the speed in which information is shared through social media, it seems that today more and more celebrities have had to curb rumors about their own premature deaths.  Just in 2014, 31 celebrities, including Betty White, Reba McEntire and Taylor Swift, have been victims of a social media death hoax. 

Singer Miley Cyrus is the newest celebrity on the list of social media death hoaxes who has had to publicly state that she is indeed alive and well.  A Facebook post on “R.I.P. Miley Cyrus” said, “At about 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday (Nov. 11, 2014), our beloved actress Miley Cyrus passed away. Miley Cyrus was born on November 23, 1992 in Nashville. She will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.” 

The page also included a video that explained the singer’s death and photo of an unconscious Cyrus lying by a pile of pills.  The post had been shared thousands of times within a few hours as fans also included Twitter in their mourning for the star.  

Users reported to Examiner.com that clicking on the links directing to the “R.I.P. Miley Cyrus” page could actually lead to computer viruses. Once on the site, users were asked to complete surveys that have nothing to do with Cyrus or her death. The surveys give the scammers access to personal information that they can use in future hoaxes. The site then sends fake emails to users’ contacts to keep the cycle going and spread the rumors of Cyrus’s death. 

Facebook warns users to be cautious about pages like this, but how can you tell the difference between real information and hoaxes? The Better Business Bureau offers advice to ensure that you do not fall for another death hoax. 

First, always check the facts from reliable sources to make sure the information is accurate. After the facts have been verified, take note of the sites that are sharing inaccurate information and block them from your social media so you will not be tricked by the next hoax. Be cautious about opening unfamiliar pages liked by your “friends,” as their account could be hacked by the scammers to trick you into opening the sites. Finally, use your own common sense. If a young celebrity has no history of health problems or drug use, then a premature death is highly unlikely. Additionally, do not repost inaccurate information. It only helps spread the lies, which is exactly what the hoaxers want. 

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