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Jackie Chan Death Hoax Highlights Another Pitfall Of Social Networks

An earlier report of the death of popular Hong-kong actor, Jackie Chan, has been trending on Twitter and Google trends but has proved to be a fake CNN article put together by the owner of a blog called Skiphopz.

The article was put together using an online, free anonymous service called PasteHTML.com, which as its name indicates, allow users to just paste HTML code and recreate a webpage without having to host it.

The article, which was entitled "Jackie Chan Dies Of Heart Attack", worked so well that this webpage (opens in new tab) registered more than 1000 visits a minute over the last hour or so.

The ease with which the rumour spread highlights the potential dangers of such services and the speed with which viral attacks can spread. PasteHTML says that it is not reponsible for pages created by its users, even if they can contain links to malware or malicious javascript.

In addition, the link spread across the internet faster thanks to the use of URL shorteners like Bit.ly which hide the real URL destination and are easily transmitted via IM, email clients, Twitter or Facebook.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.