Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Internet Rumors: Is Charlie Sheen Dead?

Earlier today, rumors took over, well, pretty much every social media outlet there is, claiming that the tiger blood had stopped pumping through Charlie Sheen's veins and that the actor had, in fact, passed away.

This rumor is… So false!  "Reports of Mr. Sheen's demise have been greatly exaggerated," the actor's rep told E! News.

Though Sheen has yet to directly address the death rumor, which has been trending all morning on various social media sites, he has been filling up his Twitter page with his trademark, um, wit. So rest assured: the warlock is alive and well.

"Warlock: long nap…very much alive," he tacked on to a tweet earlier today.

So what started the rumor in the first place? And why didn't it involve him falling over a cliff in the outskirts of New Zealand, the usual death site for hoax celeb killings?

Well, because this wasn't a choose-your-own-adventure style death hoax, where you simply plug in a celeb's name, generate a story and watch it spread like wildfire across the Internet. This was slightly more thought out.

Over the past day, headlines about Charlie Sheen's death, most starting with "RIP!" or "Breaking News" began to spread across Twitter and Facebook, and more or less pegged Sheen's cause of death to cardiac arrest or simply (and vaguely) stated that he died in his house. Unfortunately, once one clicked on the links, per Mashable, the user was taken to a cloned YouTube page—clicking on any part of the page resulted in malware infecting the user's computer and spreading the scam on their Facebook profile.

So, the good news: Charlie Sheen isn't dead. The bad news: if you thought that he was, you've probably got a computer virus.

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