Bill Cosby is not dead. Neither is Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, or Bill Nye. But celebrity death rumors like this pop up all the time on sites such as Twitter, where false information can spread like wildfire.
Simple tweets like "RIP Bill Cosby" spring up from no name Twitter accounts, and the sketchy information takes hold across the Internet. Sometimes, the hoaxers will link to a completely fake news source called the Global Associated News.
The site is completely nonfunctional: Try clicking any of the "links" at the top of the page. They don't even work. And, oddly enough, almost every so-called report on the site seems to say that the celebrity died skiing in Switzerland. But despite these facts, gullible social-media types keep rolling out the fake website as "proof" that a celebrity like Bill Cosby is dead.
So what's the best way to silence these online trolls? A site called Death Rumors. It tracks mentions of celebrity deaths across social-media sites and clearly labels whether or not the death stories making the rounds online are legitimate.
The site displays the most recent celebrities to be associated with "RIP" tweets and confirms or denies the status of the rumor. So Neil Armstrong? Actually deceased. Bill Cosby? Rumor. Rodney King? Actually deceased. Bill Nye? Again, rumor. You get how it works.
The system isn't 100 percent perfect. It seems to rely on cross-referencing death tweets with news sources reporting on the celebrity in question. Theoretically, one might be able to game the system with enough false news sources, but it's likely that the site would fix that problem if it ever occurs.
So there you have it. A one-stop place to debunk stupid celebrity death rumors. Next time you see one of your Internet friends make the tweet "RIP Eddie Murphy :(," just direct them to this site and set them straight. And, remember, no one dies in Swiss skiing accidents.