IN SHORT: We’ve often come across false reports on social media about the deaths of celebrities. And recent claims that beloved country singer Dolly Parton has passed away are equally untrue.
“With heavy hearts as we report the sad news of 76-year-old singer Dolly Parton, goodbye and rest,” reads the headline of an article, posted on Facebook on 6 December 2022. It received over 7,800 views in the first 24 hours after publication.
The article has been shared to several public Facebook groups, with between 10,000 and 190,000 followers.
Parton is a US-born country music singer and actor, known for her hits Jolene (1973) and Nine to Five (1980). She is also a noted and generous philanthropist.
Africa Check has previously debunked false claims about celebrity deaths, with some celebrities being killed off more than once by social media.
These rumours can be devastating to fans and families, not to mention the celebrity themself. So is it true that Dolly Parton has died or is this another hoax?
Parton still active on social media after claim posted
The first red flag that the claim was false was that there were no credible news reports of Parton’s death. Her death would make news headlines and be widely reported the world over.
The article linked to on Facebook claims Parton died on 6 December 2022. But the 76-year-old singer posted reels on Facebook on 6 and 7 December, and the same posts also appeared on her Instagram account.
There is no announcement of Parton’s death on her official Twitter account. We also checked the Dolly Parton website for any evidence that the singer had passed away, but came up empty.
We took a closer look at the website where the misleading article about Parton’s death was published. It is a blog which publishes what is labelled Korean “news” – in the Korean language – and fake claims about celebrity deaths.
On the landing page alone there were “reports” of the “tearful” and “sudden” deaths of British TV host Simon Cowell and US actors Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise. These are all false. We suspect the Korean stories are also fabricated.
These false claims are likely attempts to gain traffic to the website. But the articles posted on social media and the website itself should be ignored.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
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