Since it was launched more than a decade ago, Twitter has become the world’s premier source for breaking news. No other source can allow people to follow the news as it happens in the same way as Twitter. However, there is a drawback to the social media service’s free-flowing style of telling a story.
Notorious “fake news” can often make its way to the top of the trending topic lists with unconfirmed rumors spreading like a game of telephone, with many major respected sources ending up with egg on their face as they chase breaking news. The most common example of this is the constant flow of fake death stories, which has included a variety of figures from Avril Lavigne to Florida Senator Bill Nelson. However, none seem to be the focus of this more than Alan Greenspan, the American economist who formerly served as the Chair of the Federal Reserve, who has been killed by Twitter no less than four times since 2014.
Greenspan was once again targeted on Tuesday morning, with his name trending across the United States as tributes began to pour in. Familiar enough by now with Twitter’s penchant for killing Greenspan, news sources as diverse as Buzzfeed and Breitbart pumped the breaks on the news until official confirmation came from none other than his wife NBC News journalist Andrea Mitchell. Mitchell was obviously able to physically confirm that Greenspan was still alive and put the rumors to bed, for now.
By now you know the rumors are a hoax. Alan’s doing great. In fact he has a new book out next week!
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) October 9, 2018
Media Mass, which has a constantly updated page on the Greenspan death hax since it first emerged in 2014, reports that this version of the hoax started on Facebook Sunday when the page “R.I.P. Alan Greenspan” appeared. the page reportedly appeared quite legitimate at first glance, and bore the message, “At about 11 a.m. ET on Sunday (October 07, 2018), our beloved economist Alan Greenspan passed away. Alan Greenspan was born on March 6, 1926, in New York. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”
From that point on the spark for another hoax quickly took fire as hundreds began to comment, like, and spread the rumor.
Many were happy to see that Greenspan is alive and well, but users of social media have become increasingly annoyed with the ability for false information created on a whim to gain traction and bleed into actual news. A poll from The Celebrity Post showed that 87 percent of voters don’t find the Alan Greenspan death rumors funny anymore.
As for Greenspan, who has been the subject of death hoaxes since at least 2000, the 92-year-old has never commented much on the rumors beyond giving confirmation that he is alive through a statement. With a book to promote and showing no signs of passing away, Greenspan may not be too troubled by becoming a major story so close to its release date.