Michael J. Fox has not passed away as has been reported on a fake news website. The hoax website has a similar format and domain name to Yahoo News in an effort to dupe fans of the popular actor into believing the upsetting news.
The death hoax news report has the following headline. “Beloved Actor And Back To The Future Star Michael J. Fox has died at the age of 57.” Google searches for the popular actor has risen as many fans flood the internet to find out if the report is accurate.
The fake report is exploiting the 57-year-old actor’s well-known diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to make the story appear legitimate. According to Snopes, the original report read the following:
“On August 2, Michael J Fox arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was self-admitted with complications attributed to Parkinson’s Disease. According to Chief Coroner Jonathan Lucas M.D., Fox had developed pneumonia, a common problem occurring in Parkinson’s sufferers in the later stages of the disease. Tragically, Fox died at 11:24 this morning. Doctors confirmed Fox passed away peacefully and was surrounded by friends and family.”
Many users on Twitter and Facebook have shared the fake news website link garnering thousands of shares. Many celebrities have been targeted with death hoaxes forcing some to confirm that they are still alive with statements.
A few folks have written me that I have missed a death today of Michael J. Fox. Well, this is what I really call FAKE NEWS. This is a fake site folks. If it was real many more sites would be reporting this. Even though it says "Yahoo" it is not "Yahoo". pic.twitter.com/dAwMxgvc17
— John Dolusic (@WTVAjohn) August 5, 2018
Michael J. Fox is well known for his advocating a cure for Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29.
Some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include shaking, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking.
Fox has recently appeared in TV series Designated Survivor. The actor, who only tweets occasionally, has not responded to the death hoax.
Facebook has been criticized for not effectively flagging celebrity death hoaxes. Earlier this year, a Sylvester Stallone death hoax was shared over 2 million times on the platform. Stallone took to Instagram to assure fans that he was not dead.
Despite Facebook’s partnership with fact-checking organizations, many celebrity hoaxes have been shared on the social media giant.
Morgan Freeman, Jackie Chan, Johnny Deep and John Cena have been targeted with death hoaxes. It seems like the motive is to drive traffic to fake sites as people are likely to want to read about a celebrity’s death. Some of the links to the website have spam that could steal information from mobile phones and personal computers.
Michael J. Fox is one of the top trending searches on Google following the hoax.