Neil Armstrong has died! Again!
Actually, Armstrong only died once, a year ago on Aug. 25, 2012. But that didn’t stop Twitter users from resurrecting the first man to walk on the moon, only to see him die again #RIP.
Tweets like, “Your light will always shine upon us. RIP #Neil Armstrong,” and, “Neil Armstrong is now among the stars. RIP,” flooded the Twitterverse, causing “RIP Neil Armstrong” and similar sentiments to trend on Tuesday.
Yet not all users were fooled by the sandstorm of tardy mourning: “Really upset to learn that Neil Armstrong passed away again.” Some people even took the opportunity to educate their fellow man: “Died one yr ago :P RT @iWish_all: Neil Armstrong RIP!!”
All the confusion started after ABC News updated a year-old article to commemorate the first anniversary of the legendary astronaut’s death. And when people used the Twitter share tool to dispatch the article, the following headline was seen by their followers: “Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, is Dead – ABC News.”
The following editor’s note from ABC News aims to explain the misunderstanding: “This article was written and published on Aug. 25, 2012, the day Neil Armstrong died, and was updated this week with a new video to commemorate the anniversary of Armstrong’s death. This update changed the time stamp on our mobile site, causing some to share the story on social media thinking we had published news of Armstrong’s death today. We regret the confusion caused by the updated time stamp.”
The Guardian, in response to the commotion, posted a quiz to test users’ knowledge of dead celebrities. (Spoiler alert: They’re all dead)
This isn’t the first time that news of a celebrity death has been muddled by social media. Usually it’s stories of premature deaths, which in turn creates a misguided outpouring of grief.
I guess the lesson here is to think twice and Google at least once before participating in the sharing of false information.