News of the passing of actress Rue McClanahan quickly spread on social media today… five years after the actress passed away.
Reverse “Death Hoax”
Most death hoaxes claim that a living celebrity has died, but in what could be described a “reverse death hoax,” reports of the passing of Rue McClanahan are circulating five years after the actress actually passed away. McClanahan died on June 3, 2010 at the age of 76 but, her “news” of her death has lit up social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter this week. CBS News notes that the same thing happened around the same time last year.
It is probably no coincidence that McClanahan died in early June 2010, and “news” of her passing re-appeared in June 2014 and again in June 2015. When the story reappeared in 2014, the Washington Post looked into why her passing was being reported, and found that memorials on the anniversary of McClanahan’s passing were circulated by fans – and then shared by those who may have missed news of her passing in the first place, believing that the “Golden Girls” star had recently died.
Tweets such as the one below in 2014 were meant to acknowledge the anniversary of McClanahan’s death, but were likely misinterpreted by casual readers who mistakenly believed her passing to be a recent event.
Today is the exact day Golden Girls fav girl Blanche Devereaux or Rue McClanahan has passed away, 6/3/2010!!! RIP Rue!!????????????
— Maddie (@Blanche1934) June 3, 2014
It has also been suggested that a Facebook feature which re-posts old stories on a given date may have also played a role.
Rue McClanahan died in 2010, but in 2014 and 2015 some social media users mistakenly reported the death of the actress as if it were a recent event. This was likely prompted by messages noting the anniversary of her death which were misinterpeted by social media readers.