Multiple Facebook (FB) posts used a clickbait to direct netizens to websites which carried digitally-altered photos claiming to show English TV personality Simon Cowell in a hospital bed or in his funeral. This is a hoax.
The clickbait post read: “We announce about ‘America’s Got Talent’ Simon Cowell, he has been confirmed as…See more.”
Netizens who clicked the “See more” text were redirected to multiple websites (freshnews59.com, newstoday75.com and eight others), showing altered photos to falsely imply Cowell’s death or hospitalization.
a judge on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. According to the Daily Mail, he is cutting back on other TV commitments “to be a stay-at-home dad.”
This death hoax post digitally added Cowell’s face to the following photos:
- A photo of COVID-19 survivor Eddie Hughes, as shown in a July 21, 2020 Al-Jazeera news report (timestamp: 02:13)
- A June 24, 2017 photo of motorbike rider Jordan Booker, posted by FB page MVR-D Racing.
Another collage claiming to show Cowell’s funeral is actually a composite of three different funeral photos:
- A Jan. 3, 2015 Flash90 photo showing family and friends of Alon Bakal at his funeral in the northern Israeli city of Karmiel;
- A March 24, 2016 Alamy photo showing four women carrying a coffin out of the Holy Family church, Ballymagroarty in Londonderry, U.K., and
- A Sept. 22, 2022 Getty Images photo showing two Japanese paying respects to the late prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Posted from July 24 to 30, the ten erroneous FB posts garnered a total of over 36,906 interactions. Several Filipinos immediately called out the death hoax, while others who thought his passing was true said “rest in peace.”