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Last night (Australian time), some of the people I follow on Twitter were tweeting and retweeting that actor Jackie Chan had died. Before retweeting, I like to check whether or not news with such gravity is accurate.

There was nothing on news feeds such as Reuters, the ABC or even TMZ, the showbiz webiste that broke the news of Michael Jackson’s death.

What I did find, however, was that Yahoo 7 were reporting his death. Initially, I thought they had heard the rumours and jumped the gun a la Richard Wilkins on the Today Show re Jeff Goldblum in 2009. But on closer inspection, someone had used the Yahoo 7 logos, advertising and page template to make the report look authentic. Further investigation of the page revealed other bogus links and reports. As of 7am Wednesday 30 March Australian EDST, the hoax page is still up. The biggest clue to the site being a hoax is the URL.

The bogus site looks just like a Yahoo 7 news site

The bogus site looks just like a Yahoo 7 news site

MTV reports that Jackie Chan lives

MTV reports that Jackie Chan lives

Jackie Chan's official and verified Twitter account page

Jackie Chan's official and verified Twitter account page says he's alive and well. (Yay!)

As teachers, we can use this example of verifying sources and facts from multiple trusted sites with our students. 12 hours after initial reports of Jackie Chan’s death, “RIP Jackie Chan” is still trending on Twitter. An in-depth look at the hoax site and how it purported to be a Yahoo 7 site is also worth discussing with students.

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