ÔÇÿThe Rock’ unmoved by death hoax stories

FactCheck November 18, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined multiple links shared on Facebook on November 14, 2019 by Australian users announcing the supposed death of Hollywood action film actor Dwayne ÔÇ£The RockÔÇØ Johnson. 

The link features a BBC News logo and a photo of Johnson alongside the text which reads: ÔÇ£R.I.P. Dwayne Johnson 1972-2019ÔÇØ. Underneath the image is a headline: ÔÇ£BBCNEWS: Dwayne ÔÇÿThe Rock’ Johnson Dies at 47 After a terrible Stunt Attempt Failed. | BBC NewsÔÇØ. 

The link, and similar versions, have been shared at least 3800 times by users in Australia.

A link shared on Facebook on November 14, 2019 features a video announcing the supposed death of Hollywood film star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. 

The Analysis

Hollywood actor Dwayne ÔÇÿThe Rock’ Johnson became the latest celebrity to be targeted by a death hoax on social media after stories began circulating on November 13, 2019.

The story went viral on Facebook among other sites as users clicked on the headline ÔÇ£BBC: Dwayne The Rock Johnson Dies at 47 After A Terrible Stunt Attempt Failed.ÔÇØ The link includes the BBC News logo with an image of Johnson before sending users to a video under the headline, ÔÇ£ACTUAL FOOTAGE: Dwyne (sic) ÔÇÿThe Rock’ Johnson Dies at 47 After a Terrible Stunt Attempt FailedÔÇØ. There is no story reporting the actor’s death on the BBC News website

The Rock, who topped topped Forbes list of the highest-paid actors in 2019, has been the subject of death hoaxes in 2011, 2014 and 2017.

Dwayne ÔÇÿThe Rock’ Johnson has previously been the subject of death hoaxes in 2011, 2014 and 2017. 

In 2011, the US actor directly addressed the stories with a Facebook post: ÔÇ£Rumors of my death are false – I’m still “Bringin’ It’ 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – including leap year!ÔÇØ

However in 2019 Johnson has not commented, preferring to promote his upcoming film, Jumanji: The Next Level on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in recent days. He is also due to appear on The Graham Norton Show in the UK in December

Fact checkers Snopes investigated the 2014 and 2017 death hoax stories and described them as ÔÇ£clickjacking scamsÔÇØ designed to spread online malware. 

ÔÇ£Such viral posts are part of a series of celebrity death hoaxes, clickjacking scams that typically take users who click through on them to Facebook look-alike sites for the purpose of tricking them into downloading malware, installing rogue Facebook apps, or filling out surveys. 

ÔÇ£Users who take the bait often end up enabling rogue apps that request permission to access to their Facebook profiles and post under their accounts; those who incautiously grant such permission end up seeing the original post spammed to everyone on their friends list.ÔÇØ

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the links posted to Facebook to be false. There is no evidence that a video reporting Dwayne ÔÇÿThe Rock’ Johnson’s death is true. The Hollywood action star posted a picture of himself and veteran actor Danny deVito as recently as November 18, 2019 on his social media accounts. 

False – The primary claims of the content are factually inaccurate. 

First published November 18, 2019, 17:34 AEDT

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