It started with one random Tweet, now Twitter user @OriginalCJizzle has issued a public apology after he sent Tweeters into a tizzy with a comment that prompted thousands of members of the microblogging hub to believe that actor Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was dead.
The Glory star died Thursday â€” not in real life — but in an internet hoax that duped countless users.
“@CNN: Breaking News: actor Morgan Freeman has passed away in his Burbank home” was the original statement Re-Tweeted multiple times today, followed by a retraction: “NEWS ALERT: Morgan Freeman not dead, CNN retracts statement.”
On Twitter, a post starting with the letters RT indicates that a user is simply re-tweeting what another user has said. Confusion continued to spread as Twitter users “Re-Tweeted” or re-posted the post purportedly from CNN.
The post was then Re-Tweeted by many other media outlets, including LiveNewsWire, ESPN’s Bruce Feldman, and Borders Books!
This epidemic of re-tweets caused many to believe that CNN had posted the news, and others were simply passing it on, but it turns out the cable news network — who last summer were publicly shamed when they fell for a 100-year-old hot dog hoax — had nothing to do with this tall tale. In fact, the rumor started with just one random Tweet from some guy. Oh how easily things can get out of hand on the Interwebz!
CNN itself cleared up the rumors on with a post to its official Twitter page Thursday.
“CNN did not report Morgan Freeman death. Rumor is false. CNN will aggressively investigate this hoax,” the network stated.
“Ppl shouldn’t be so damn gullible,” @OriginalCJizzle, the person who started the hoax, added a short time later. “Morgan Freeman is alive & well.. I just issued a formal apology to a man who identified himself as an employee of The New York Post.”
“It was an inside joke between friends. I had no intention of things turning out this way,” he added.