A sick sense of humour

There is a phenomenon on Twitter at the moment which I really don’t understand. It has affected all sorts of people and whilst some of them I understand to a degree, it is generally a pretty sick concept.

Why on earth would anyone post that someone has died when it is blatantly untrue?

The issue has become so acute that when Whitney Houston died there were a lot of tweets asking whether this was true or another hoax. I actually checked to confirm on the  BBC news as they do tend to only report confirmed news rather than random gossip. Once I’d done that I did answer a couple of tweets pointing them to the relevant webpage but I don’t understand how people can retweet such awful news or comment on it when they haven’t at least checked with a reputable news outlet to see whether it is true.

Today has brought the “death” of one of my all time favourite actors, Rowan Atkinson. I am an enormous Blackadder fan (if you ever hear me say something slightly weird it’s likely to be a Blackadder quote) and his turn in “Love Actually” is a piece of comic genius so when I saw that “RIP Rowan Atkinson” was trending, I was horrified. But of course, it wasn’t true, it was yet another hoax.

This cruel trend has seen the “deaths” of, among others, Demi Moore, Madonna, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Tiger Woods, Keanu Reeves and even Barack Obama (surely the easiest one to disprove. And I really don’t understand why people do it. Even as a joke, it is incredibly hurtful. When you see the outpouring of grief when Whitney Houston died, you understand that whilst people have mostly never met celebrities, they do get incredibly attached to them. So to claim that someone has died is likely to cause a lot of hurt and upset.

Whilst the hoaxes are normally fairly swiftly disproved and treated with the disdain and derision that they deserve, my favourite has come from Jon Bon Jovi who on the news of his untimely death tweeted a picture of himself holding a sign with that day’s date and time with the caption “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey”.

What do you think of these Twitter hoaxes? Do you think that those who start them should be removed from Twitter?

Average Josephine x

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