The BBM that started the Mandela Twitter ‘death’ hoax [pic]

American blogger, Dan Zarrella — an award-winning writer and author of two O’Reilly Media books, has uncovered a screenshot of the original Blackberry Messenger (BBM) notice that was the source of the Nelson Mandela Twitter “death” hoax.

Over the weekend, news of the world icon’s “death” went viral and trended internationally on Twitter, prompting strong denials from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the African National Congress (ANC) and worldwide outrage at the distasteful hoax.

The source of the original BBM hoax message remains unknown, but the source of the Twitter trend that caught the world’s attention is thought to have been unwittingly started by a Johannesburg-based photographer who first tweeted “RIP Nelson Mandela”, based on the Blackberry message he received.

The incident has further put the spotlight on Twitter as a news source. Twitter’s reputation as a source for breaking news and information is unlikely to be tarnished by this or any other of the multitude of hoaxes that take place on the platform on a daily basis. However, experts are urging users to verify information and sources before they further broadcast, publish or distribute via social network or blogging services — standard practice in the journalism profession.

More coverage

  • Nelson Mandela ‘death’ hoax: How it all began
  • Nelson Mandela ‘death’ hoax tweets cause outrage and anxiety
  • Mandela ‘death’ hoax exposes weakness of Twitter as news platform
  • More


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