Jan. 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM ET
If you've been on the Internet for all of one second, you're aware that some of the information on it is false. Fake. Made up. Fiction. Wrongamundo. And yet people still fall for bad information daily -- it's why snopes.com, the great debunker of urban legends, exists.
But if you have 12 million followers, as Kim Kardashian has, perhaps you should think and verify before retweeting information that even to you seems to be false.
On Thursday, Kardashian tweeted "Did I just hear that Cher has passed away? Is this real? OMG."
She may have heard it, but it wasn't, of course, true. (The Huffington Post has tracked the rumor to the Twitter accounts which may have kicked off the hoax.)
Kardashian didn't just tweet once, she tweeted twice about the death-that-didn't-happen, later tweeting: "I hope this is a twitter joke and not true. I don't see it on the news anywhere. I'm praying its not true." Twitter user the boss was one of many to set her straight, tweeting "Of course not, Cher will outlive you."
She's not the first celeb to grab information that has not been researched and run with it. Back in November, Ashton Kutcher came under fire when he expressed anger that Penn State had fired coach Joe Paterno. He had his facts right -- Paterno was fired -- but Kutcher later claimed he didn't know anything about the much-publicized child sexual abuse cases involving former coach Jerry Sandusky, and thought Paterno was fired for a bad football season. For Kutcher, the fallout was so bad that he moved to a less-open Twitter account, saying his tweets would now go through a management team rather than just fly out as he thought them up.
Sure, there's a lot to be said for the spontaneity of a fun tweet, but it's different when only a few dozen of your friends are seeing it. Who knows how many people -- maybe even family and friends of Cher herself -- thought the singer really was dead because Kardashian sent it out there to 12 million followers?
Kardashian was apparently corrected on her error within an hour. She then tweeted: "Can't believe people would make up a sick joke like Cher died. These people need to get a life! Thanks Twitter for clearing that up."
Other Twitter followers were quick to reprimand Kardashian. A.J. Nelson tweeted at the reality star: "Can't believe u would immediately start tweeting about it before finding out facts."
In summary: Cher -- not dead. Kim Kardashian -- not that careful about facts. The Internet -- still trying to trick people. The beat goes on.
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