On August 28th, a Facebook community page was started memorializing the death of actor Morgan Freeman. The only problem? Freeman is still alive and well. Almost a full three weeks later and people are still being fooled. As of September 17, 2012, the page is approaching a million fans. From other fake celebrity death reports to more organized hoaxes like Greenpeace’s Arctic Ready website and social media campaign that spoofs Shell’s arctic drilling efforts, it seems like the social media user base is constantly being fooled.
Fake news spreads in a snowballing manner. Many people do not bother to check the legitimacy of a piece of information if it is spread by a friend /follower or if it has been spread by the large amount of people that the individual does not know. In fact, there is a Tumblr account dedicated to posts created by people who think articles from the fake news site The Onion are real.