Early Sunday morning, February 12 2012, (UK time), saw Twitter light up with reports of US singer Whitney Houston’s death. The news has been widely reported, from Los Angeles to the farthest point of the inner Solar System, and though the cause of her death is not yet known, rumours have abounded across the internet.
It is nothing new of course but, at least this time, the crux of the matter is true; the 48-year-old drug and drink addled star of the 80s and 90s is sadly dead.
All too often, celebrity deaths trend on Facebook and Twitter, only to be revealed as being bogus claims; they were posted for reasons best known to the original postee.
In some respects of course, these episodes can be looked on as amusing asides to day to day life. Scratch a little deeper though and things aren’t so funny, with members of the “deceased” star’s family often left traumatised.
Some major social networks are reluctant to address the issue, citing that censorship is not their policy, so it is just a question of waiting for the trend to stop, if it ever will.
The trend also shines a light on the importance of facts to be checked for bona fide reporters, and much the same can be said of those creating SEO content. This is far more than simply being responsible though.
Whether writing targeted content about the goings on in Los Angeles, or creating marketing materials in Liverpool, giving your audience facts and figures that can be relied upon helps to keep the traffic coming.