Is Margaret Thatcher Dead? A Twitter Hoax Kills The Former Prime Minister

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher is the latest victim of a Twitter death hoax. Reuters

A fake Twitter account, @OfficialSkyNews, reported breaking news that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died after she supposedly "battled a long illness"

The poser news account "reported:" BREAKING NEWS - Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away at the age of 86 after prolonged illness."

The account has already been disabled.

People quickly figured out that the news account was a fraud when they noticed OfficialSkyNews was a new account.

@politic_animal said, "People. I don't think Sky News would set up a brand new account to tweet that Margaret Thatcher was dead. Just a clue, yeah?"

While Sky News is a credible news beacon, the handle @OfficialSkyNews is not -- "OfficialSkyNews" has no affiliation with Sky News.

‏@lheron cleared it up for her users. She tweeted, "PSA: @officialskynews is a fake. If @skynews or @skynewsbreak were reporting that Margaret Thatcher had died, it would be credible."

More people began tweeting that she was alive than dead, and most made jokes about the death hoax.

@blakehounshell tweeted, "I go away for 5 minutes and Margaret Thatcher dies and is resurrected."

@fatbrenda said, "Tweeter's killed Margaret Thatcher again! Honestly, Tweeter's killed more famous folk than drink and drugs!"

The top news on Twitter that comes up when "Margaret Thatcher" is searched says that "A fake Twitter account tried, and briefly succeeded in, spreading the word that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died," reported by ABC.

@OfficialSkyNews posted 10 times that Thatcher, 86, had died. According to ABC the Twitter user changed its username to "John Pennington,"" then "Dean Sutton." When the name was changed for the third time, "Dean Sutton" protected his or her tweets.

Though the rumor was quickly shot down, ABC noted that Thatcher's Wikipedia page was changed to show that Aug. 14, 2012, was her day of death. Now that the rumor has been officially dispelled, the former Prime Minister's Wikipedia page has been corrected. 

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