Debunked: Internet Death Hoax Story Generator on MediaMass

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
After the breaking story of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death today by the Wall Street Journal on Twitter, many people linked to what looked like a story that suggested he was the victim of an internet death hoax earlier this week:

http://en.mediamass.net/people/philip-seymour-hoffman/deathhoax.html (http://archive.is/tpbNI)

This gave lots of people the false hope that the WSJ story was itself a hoax, that the WSJ had somehow been fooled by someone just propagating this old hoax story.

However, the MediaMass site is simple an automated generator of these stories. You can adjust the URL to get an internet death hoax story about any famous person. In this case, it was the hoax itself that was the hoax.

MediaMass have been doing this since 2012, and even explain how it works in the red-linked "UPDATE" in the middle of each story.
http://en.mediamass.net/blog/mediamass-project
But the problem with this is the the readership of an article starts to drop very rapidly after the headline. Very few people would click the update link. Few still would read and understand the explanation.

Here's the Hoffman "story" and three random celebrities.



http://en.mediamass.net/people/kanye-west/deathhoax.html (http://archive.is/KHd7w)
http://en.mediamass.net/people/justin-bieber/deathhoax.html (http://archive.is/j1eHt)
http://en.mediamass.net/people/bill-gates/deathhoax.html (http://archive.is/jhiK8)
 
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cosmic

Senior Member
Isn't this image a hoax? As far as I know, he was carbonized ...
Yes, and the article points that out.

 

Bruno D.

Senior Member
Yes, and the article points that out.

Oh, sorry, didn't read the entire article ...
 
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