Reports of Sharon's death exaggerated on Twitter

By Jennifer Lipman, August 6, 2010
Ariel Sharon has been in a coma since 2006

Ariel Sharon has been in a coma since 2006

Ariel Sharon has not died, despite what Twitter users might have heard.

The former Israeli prime minister’s demise was reported on the social networking site last week.

The news was so widely circulated that a spokesman from Sheba Medical Centre had to make a public statement denying the rumours.

Mr Sharon was hospitalised in January 2006 with a stroke and has been in a coma ever since.

According to Ha’aretz, the majority of the Tweets came from Arab countries or Iranian or Palestinian users.

Twitter has fallen victim to false stories and users impersonating celebrities a number of times.

Last week, JC columnist Melanie Phillips blogged that she had not joined the site, despite a fake Melanie Phillips amassing 800 followers in three days.

There is, also, a presumably fake Ariel Sharon account on Twitter, with 254 followers, although its author has not been active for more than a month.

Last updated: 2:57pm, October 19 2010