Celebrity ‘deaths’ go up 20 % this year
By Sheetal Sukhija - BANGALORE
12th November 2012 11:01 AM
Actors Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, Natalie Portman and Eddie Murphy have all “died” on the Internet so that websites get more hits.
In the last few months, a barrage of emails, direct messages and trends on Twitter, and online media content has been circulated announcing the demise of celebrities. While some like American actor Morgan Freeman took these hoaxes in good humour and tweeted about their afterlife, others did not react.
“This year has seen the most number of rumoured celebrity deaths on the Internet. Usually these hoaxes are circulated through Facebook and become Twitter trends, but this year, cyber criminals have got hold of a technique to grab eyeballs,” said Ananth Sridhar, founder of Bust, an online forum relating to cyber crime.
Even forgotten actors were rumoured to be dead online this year and pages with thousands of mourners were created on popular social networking sites.
“This year the spam generated using names of big celebrities who allegedly died have gone up by almost 20 per cent. There is a 20 per cent year on year growth in acts of cyber crime using such hoaxes too,” said a spam report by a leading anti-virus company.
However, many who throng the social media on a daily basis claim that these hoaxes are hugely entertaining. “It is always interesting to get a sneak peak into the lives of our favourite celebrities, but when their death is reported it becomes an even bigger news and grabs even more eyeballs. Michael Jackson was reported to be dead on the Internet 10 times before he actually died,” said Prashanth, a student.
Even though not many serious cyber crime incidents have been recorded due to these hoaxes, they have continued to remain in the limelight as spam attacks are being reported from many different countries.
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