Twitter may be a great tool for giving and getting real time information from all over the world but it is also a dangerous machine for spreading false rumours.
Last night Fidel Castro suddenly became one of the most tweeted terms – a Trending Topic - as dubious reports suggested the Cuban revolutionary leader had died.
Some users even started sharing a fake picture showing Castro’s corpse in a coffin.
The latest information suggests that it is not a rumour but a pure and simple hoax aimed at spreading a dangerous trojan computer virus.
It is not the first time that Castro’s death, an obviously attractive headline, has been used to spread a virus.
Castro was declared dead last August in an email with the subject “Fidel is Dead”, that infected computers once the false video report had been clicked on.
And Castro is not the only public figure whose passing has been prematurely announced on social networks. Recently Bon Jovi had to assure his army of fans that he was still alive after a similar Twitter scare, while Johnny Depp and Justin Bieber have also both ‘died’ online.
While the internet spreads the false news faster than ever before it must be remembered that this is not an entirely new phenomenon: Mark Twain (1835-1910) once wrote “The report of my death was an exaggeration” after it was rumoured he had passed away…in 1897.