Have you heard that Elon Musk died? Last week, the Tesla CEO joined the long list of celebrities who have fallen victim to death hoaxes. The 49-year-old "passed away" after an explosion rocked a Tesla factory producing lithium batteries. Sounds silly, right? Well, a report from CleanTechnica suggests that this was not simply a goofy Internet rumour, but a coordinated campaign that involved a lot of effort and premeditation.
It wasn't only ordinary users who took the bait.
But even the fact-checking website Snopes and several media outlets reported on Musk’s fake death.
I can't 😂.. People are spreading rumors that Elon Musk died in battery accident to try and tank Tesla's stock. And I it actually worked for a while!— 🇰🇵 Kim Jong Un 🇰🇵 (@KimJongUn33) March 5, 2021
The ordinary people have so much more power than they think.#ripelon pic.twitter.com/fYItFykbuP
CleanTechnica writes that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should investigate the hoax, as Tesla's stocks took a big hit after social media users started "mourning" Musk and then saw a quick rise after the hoax was disproved. Although there is no evidence that the death hoax was responsible for the volatility, the very idea that someone could use fake news to influence stock prices is quite concerning, writes CleanTechnica.