Will Smith is alive, contrary to death hoax rumors that continue to circulate in increasing numbers. Even articles “debunking” the actor’s death are sometimes hoaxes, too. Today we’ll take a close look at why the convoluted Will Smith death hoax has thrived over the past several months.
Malicious Facebook App
In late October 2013, a malicious Facebook app began spreading, using a fake news headline regarding the “death” of Will Smith. It claimed the actor died while filming the movie Hancock 2. The fake news story contained a graphic that read “R.I.P. Will Smith, 1968-2013” The false report read:
Hollywood Press: Will Smith has just been pronounced dead after undergoing an immediate spinal surgery caused by an accident while filming Hancock 2 (2014). The negligence of the doctor with medication overdose was blamed to be the cause of his death. Watch the full video of CCTV cam installed in the operating room where he was admitted: (Link Removed)
Concerned fans took the bait and clicked the fake news link in droves, which secretly installed a rogue Facebook app. This malicious app would then post the same fake story on their behalf, thus spreading the hoax to new unsuspecting readers.
If you suspect that such an app has been installed, follow the directions below to remove it.
How to Remove a Facebook App
You can remove a Facebook app by going into “Account Settings” and selecting “Apps” on the left side of the screen. Here you can simply click the “x” next to the app to remove it completely. It’s a good idea to revisit this page on occasion to get rid of unwanted or unused apps.
To further add to the confusion regarding Will Smith, some users in their attempts to find out about Smith’s status stumbled across the fake news generator Media Fetcher, which also falsely reports Smith’s death while filming a movie. This news generator constantly plugs in the current date, giving their fake content “breaking news” status. MediaFetcher’s fake story reads:
Actor Will Smith died while filming a movie in New Zealand early this morning – January 20, 2014
Preliminary reports from New Zealand Police officials indicate that the actor fell more than 60 feet to his death on the Kauri Cliffs while on-set. Specific details are not yet available.
The accident occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +12).
Some well-intended fans found and shared an article “debunking” Smith’s death, published by the “satirical” website MediaMass. That site, however, publishes the same story for hundreds of celebrities. Aside from the fact that Smith’s death reports are indeed a hoax, nothing else contained in the MediaMass article has any shred of truth to it. You can, in fact, read the same “debunking” article on that site for other living celebrities such as Hillary Clinton or Nicolas Cage.
For more info, read our full review of MediaMass.
Google Trends “Will Smith Dead”
A look at Google Trends for the search phrase “Will Smith Dead” shows the frequency of recent searches began increasing in late October 2013. Additional peaks also occurred around November 3 and December 1. A significant increase in this search phrase occurred in January 12, 2014.
If we expand the search (below), we can see that two other Will Smith death hoaxes occurred in May 2011 and again in November of that year.
Will Smith, as of this writing, is alive and well. Those seeking validation of reports of the actor’s death must wade through a quagmire of false information both “confirming” and “debunking” his demise. You can be rest assured that if such a tragic event were to occur, it would be headline news on every major media outlet minutes after any such announcement.
If you see a link claiming to be a news story reporting the death of Will Smith, avoid the temptation of clicking it, as this will only add to the proliferation of the hoax.
Have you seen a Will Smith death report? Tell us where you saw it in the comments below.