Today’s Tech February 15, 2012

Rumors of an assassination of North Korea’s leader goes viral on Twitter

Assassination rumors shot out online after news quickly spread of the death of North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un. But once facts came in, there was no truth to the story. But why did it go viral so quickly? It all began with a birthday party.

At the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, a 70th birthday party for recently departed former leader Kim Jong-il brought a large commotion to the building. Rumors began to spring up on Twitter, which is still a recent development in the strictly controlled world of Chinese Internet freedom.

Just like a game of Telephone, it began with a small suspicion of what was occurring at the embassy to a story with details of armed men entering Kim Jong-un’s bedroom and opening fire, killing him and his bodyguard, to the Chinese military then invading North Korea.

News like this is fairly common since Chinese news is highly censored, but the fact that this rumor got so much traction, even across the world in the US and Europe, shows that the services such as Twitter give users a way of making an impact across the globe. But more often than not, that impact ends up being a false rumor such as assassinations of leaders, breakups of bands or even the deaths of celebrities. n