Living in Miami actually makes it much easier to quickly judge whether reports of Fidel Castro's demise are true. Just open your window: Are horns honking? Are fireworks exploding? Is anyone running down your street yelling El hijo de puta está muerto?!
If not, then Fidel is probably not dead. Such was the case last night when the Twitterverse exploded with millions of false tweets that the dictator had kicked it. Turns out a "Fidel is Dead" email virus might be to blame yet again.
As usual with Twitter rumors, trying to figure out where last night's explosion started is mostly futile. But by 8 p.m. or so, the #fidel hashtag had jumped almost 900 percent to become an internationally trending topic.
News gatherers with tens of thousands of followers started retweeting the rumors. Here's Sami Sarhan, who retweets international updates to just under 11,000 followers just before 9 last night:
But as of this morning, the rumor hasn't even garnered a front page mention on the Miami Herald's site. (Again, another benefit of living in Miami: You know the Herald has the king of special web heads ready to run at the slightest hint that Casto may have actually kicked it.)
Many are now speculating that the "Fidel as Dead" email virus that crashed computers worldwide back in August may have struck again yesterday. Many on Twitter were reposting a doctored photo of Fidel in a coffin that was included in the fake emails.
So the lesson for Miami: Next time your Twitterfeed tells you Fidel has peaced out, walk outside and listen for a minute before you believe it.
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