I’ve been wanting to know this myself: Why is Leslie Nielsen STILL dead?
This week there have been waves of online sympathy over the passing of actor Leslie Nielsen prompting many to quote their favourite and most memorable lines from films such as Airplane! and The Naked Gun.
The only trouble is Nielsen actually died in November 2010 aged 84.
That didn’t stop thousands of online users sharing this BBC story without checking the date and so it appeared that Nielsen had just died.
As a result the article popped up in the “Most Read” section which resulted in even more people sharing it. And the snowball rolled on gathering weight. Many people shared their own personal tributes on Twitter and then felt foolish when they discovered the truth.
One possible explanation:
[I]f a person’s celebrity is below a certain level some of their fans may have missed news of their original death. And if they randomly search to find out whatever happened to a star, they may discover a report of their hero’s death, but not notice the date stamp. And so another snowball starts rolling downhill.
It’s chaos theory making its presence known via social media. An entirely innocent variation of the Butterfly Effect.
Fortunately, it’s easy to check up on Abe Vigoda.