Angelina Jolie is most definitely not dead, but anyone browsing social media over the weekend may have seen viral reports that the actress had been found dead.
The story about Jolie’s alleged death hit the internet this weekend, enticing users to click on a link to a story claiming that the 41-year-old actress had taken her own life. The Facebook link appears to point to a legitimate media outlet — sometimes CNN, with others appearing to come from ABC News — but it actually opens to a page that steals personal information, WATE warned.
For the record, Jolie is very much alive and still making public appearances with her family.
Angelina Jolie is not the first celebrity to fall victim to a death hoax. In fact, within the last five years, it’s become quite popular for websites to spread false reports about the untimely deaths of athletes, actors, and politicians. While there are different motivations in each case — many are like the Angelina Jolie death hoax, a ruse to steal personal information, while others appear to be simply for the amusement of those creating them — they often share some of the same elements. Suicide is one of those common threads, a feature included in a significant number of these hoaxes.
That was the case with a recent report claiming that actor and Twitter aficionado Jaden Smith had died. The report, which spread across the internet in the last two weeks, claimed that Smith had taken his own life and enticed readers to find more information at a link.
As the U.K.’s Mirror noted, the hoax is not the first time that Jaden Smith has been targeted by a celebrity death hoax.
“The hoax – which involves getting permission to post on the user’s page on the social media site – has been spread by people noticing it on their newsfeed as more and more people click on the fake link.
“The spam apps lured many users in, but Jaden – who is yet to respond to the rumors – is alive and well four years after a similarly cruel prank.”
The young actor joins a growing list of celebrities targeted more than once, which includes his father, Will Smith. Adam Sandler has also been reported dead many times, including the same story about his alleged suicide going viral twice within the same year.
The Angelina Jolie death hoax was particularly morbid, claiming that the actress had filmed a video suicide note that readers could see by clicking on the malicious link.
“Angelina Jolie Says Goodbye With Her iPhone Before Suicide,” one such link making the rounds on Twitter claimed.
For those curious about the Angelina Jolie death hoax, WATE has a warning to anyone thinking about clicking the link.
“If you think your account may have been hacked, you should report it immediately to prevent the scam from spreading further,” the report warned. “Angelina Jolie was a top trend on Facebook Sunday morning due to the widespread sharing of the spam. If you encounter the link on a friend’s account, report it as spam and do not open it.”
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are no strangers to facing unfounded rumors. As Hollywood’s reigning power couple, the two are a lightning rod for tabloid speculation including near endless reports that they are either headed for divorce or adding yet another child to their already large family.
One such report in June claimed that their relationship had fallen apart completely and that they were just trying to maintain the appearance of a happy relationship. The report claimed that they were likely headed for divorce at some point, but that they decided to keep the plans quiet for now.
On her part, Angelina Jolie has not responded publicly to the death hoax or the divorce rumors.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]