- 5 years ago

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Fear not, world; the calming, authoritative voice of morgan freeman has not left this earth.

A hoax going around social media this late afternoon claimed the Academy Award-winning actor and voice over artist had died in his Burbank home. It allegedly started with a tweet on the CNN Twitter feed that read, “@CNN: Breaking News: actor Morgan Freeman has passed away in his Burbank home.” The tweet, reportedly, was quickly retracted.

But was it even reported by CNN in the first place? The television news giant says it had nothing to do with the story, saying on its official Twitter feed, “CNN did not report Morgan Freeman death. Rumor is false. CNN will aggressively investigate this hoax.”

So where did this mysterious fib about the death of Batman’s latest butler come from? According to Now Public, it was just some anonymous Twitter user who got the whole thing going:

There are other indications that CNN did not tweet or retract a statement on the death of Morgan Freeman. For one, the syntax doesn’t appear to be right. A quick search of CNN Tweets show that the news organization does not use the term “Breaking News” in any of its tweets. 

A quick Twitter search shows that the first appearance of the Morgan Freeman tweet came from a user named @originalcjizzle. Later on he tweeted “Ppl shouldn’t be so damn gullible.”

So, what have we learned? By the way, for these next couple of paragraphs, imagine Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice is reading this to you.

First off, Twitter really is a good way to disseminate information quickly. Even if that information is an out and out lie. In a matter of hours, the news must have reached thousands upon thousands of people. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

Secondly, we learned that Twitter really is a good way to disseminate BS quickly. Maybe I’m a little biased (note: I am), but this is just one more strike against citizen journalism. Using Twitter and other social media outlets as a news source is like using a car with no brakes to drive to work; it might be useful at first, but once something goes wrong, it’s already too out of control to stop it.