George Soros is not dead, but a big chunk of the internet seems to think that the billionaire died of a heart attack this week.
A story making the rounds on social media claims that Soros had suffered a heart attack and died. The report came just as Soros is in the crosshairs for his political contributions and his alleged support of post-election protests across the United States. A longtime backer of Democrats and left-leaning causes, Soros was accused of funding anti-Trump protests, although that was found to be a hoax.
The story claiming that George Soros died came from a website that publishes mostly in Croatian, the rumor-busting site Snopes found. The report fell apart quickly for anyone who read beyond the headline, Snopes noted, as it mixed biographical details about Soros alongside that of former president George W. Bush and president-elect Donald Trump.
“Born and raised in New York City, George was a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in economics. While attending college, Bush worked in real estate and construction firm. He assumed control of the business in 1973, and later renamed it The bush Organization. During his career, bush built skyscrapers, hotels, CASINOS, golf courses, and numerous other developments, many of which bear his name, including bush Place in Manhattan. He briefly sought the Reform Party’s nomination in the 2000 presidential election but withdrew prior to any primary contests. Listed by Forbes among the wealthiest 400 of The World’s Billionaires, Bush and his businesses, as well as his personal life, have for decades received prominent media exposure. He hosted The Apprentice, a popular reality television show on NBC, from 2004 to 2015.”
This is not the first time that George Soros has been at the center of a hoax in recent weeks. The billionaire political donor has been targeted for a number of stories relate to the 2016 presidential campaign, including a viral petition calling on U.S. election officials to scrap electronic voting machines owned by his company.
More than 70,000 people signed a “We the People” White House petition asking for a ban on the Soros-owned voting machines, which the petition’s organizers claimed were ripe for fraud.
“This man has been linked to a persons campaign who is running in the election and has a clear bias to one candidate. His ownership of voting machines in 16 states is clear breach of integrity of our electoral system.”
The petition — and a series of reports from right-leaning blogs — claimed that machines owned by a company called Smartmatic with deep ties to Soros were being used in 16 states. The Daily Caller issued a straightforward report on the petition and the worries many voters had about the Soros voting machines.
But the reports were far from the mark. George Soros had no ties to Smartmatic, and the U.K.-based company even released a statement noting that they would have no involvement in the election whatsoever.
“Smartmatic will not be deploying its technology in any U.S. county for the upcoming 2016 U.S. Presidential elections,” the company noted.
The other reports claiming that George Soros was funding anti-Trump protesters have also been debunked, even though the stories are still making the rounds online.
It is not clear if the George Soros death hoax is politically motivated or simply an attempt to bring viewers to what appears to be a shady news site. This election cycle has seen a flood of fake news into the mainstream, with both Google and Facebook taking action to block a series of websites that post hyper-partisan fabricated news stories in an attempt to gain ad revenue.
The motivation for the false reports that George Soros died could be more simple. In the past four or five years, the internet has seen a steady stream of celebrity death hoaxes in which news sites try to gain attention with fake reports that actors, athletes, and politicians have died.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]