Even though there wasn’t really ever any evidence to the contrary, except for an unfortunate rumor on Facebook that apparently won’t die now, but wasn’t even really started in the first place, but now has taken on a life of its own and needs debunking. Confused?
***UPDATE: On April 11th, 2015 another similar death hoax was perpetuated by “msmbc.co”. To read about the latest hoax, CLICK HERE.
Like many celebrities, Willie Nelson was the victim of a death hoax, but it turns out the hoax was a hoax in itself, all meant to drive traffic to a misleading, click-generating website called mediamass.net (do yourself a favor, and don’t feed the beast by checking it out). Long story short, the website is notorious for posting fake death stories about famous celebrities and starting death rumors. And just about the time the rumor is starting to send people into an uproar, they reverse their stories to be hoax busters, ostensibly debunking their own hoax, once again reaping the rewards of people trying to find out if their beloved celebrities are dead or not and generating massive traffic to their website.
The current fake mediamass.net story says,
Rumors of the guitarist’s alleged demise gained traction on Friday after a ‘R.I.P. Willie Nelson’ Facebook page attracted nearly one million of ‘likes’. Those who read the ‘About’ page were given a believable account of the American guitarist’s passing:
“At about 11 a.m. ET on Friday (February 27, 2015), our beloved guitarist Willie Nelson passed away. Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933 in Abbott. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”
Hundreds of fans immediately started writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the talented 81-year-old guitarist and singer was dead. And as usual, Twittersphere was frenzied over the death hoax.
Making the MediaMass posts even more misleading, apparently the fake hoax debunking stories change the date information on a regular basis to always look current, allowing for the hoax of a hoax to indefinitely perpetuate itself through unsuspecting perpetrators just trying to debunk a hoax that wasn’t really a hoax to begin with.
Head hurting yet?
According to snopes.com, the hoax of a Willie Nelson death hoax appears to have materialized on or around February 21st, though the quote from snopes.com includes the same verbiage quoted above from mediamass.net, only it includes a February 21st date, so it may be wrong—changed by MediaMass on the day snopes.com sniffed the fake hoax out. Either way, the hoax was probably started recently, in the last week or so.
Making matters even worse (and more confusing), the MediaMass ruse appears to have worked well, and now real rumors both of Willie Nelson’s demise, and folks posting the MediaMass hoax story have people spreading and debunking their own rumors all over Facebook.
In other words, if you see someone saying Willie Nelson is dead, it’s a hoax. And if you see someone saying Willie Nelson’s death is a hoax, it’s a hoax as well. So don’t share it. Unless it is this article, which I’m pretty sure is legit…but now I’m so confused even I’m not quite sure.
What I am sure of is that Willie Nelson is awesome, and screw anyone trying to make money off of fake hoaxes of his death.
Long live Willie!