Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Entry archive:

In this March 6, 1966, file photo, astronaut Neil Armstrong is shown. He died on Aug. 25, 2012, at age 82. (AP)
In this March 6, 1966, file photo, astronaut Neil Armstrong is shown. He died on Aug. 25, 2012, at age 82. (AP)

#RIP: Neil Armstrong is dead – again – on the Internet Add to ...

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.

More Related to this Story

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.

In 2007, a rumour surfaced on Twitter that Zach Braff had killed himself. And in 2011, hackers tweeted the death of Barack Obama on Fox News’ politics feed. Twitter even killed Kanye West in 2009.

I guess the lesson here is to think twice and Google at least once before participating in the sharing of false information.

Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail

 

Topics:

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular