In the wake of news that former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher had died following a stroke yesterday at the age of 87, the hashtag #nowthatchersdead began spreading on Twitter, and confusion among horrified Cher fans followed.
While some fans of the singer and actress appeared to genuinely believe the hashtag meant ‘now that Cher’s dead’ instead of ‘now Thatcher’s dead’, others seemed to be poking fun at the mix-up and revelling in other users’ mistakes.
And it wasn’t just the Eighties legend who was mistakenly written off by the social network, as others jumped to the conclusion that the Cher in question was teen pop star Cher Lloyd.
This kind of confusion is often seen with hashtags, which don’t allow for spaces between words or punctuation. Just last year an album launch for Susan Boyle saw the unfortunate use of #susanalbumparty trending worldwide.
It’s also not the first time – nor will it be the last – that rumours of a celebrity’s death circulate on social media as mistaken identities, general ignorance and hoaxsters have caused many to suffer from ‘death by Twitter’.
@Cher is alive and tweeting though (as is @CherLloyd), meanwhile a Tumblr blog has been set up in honour of those who, even when the hashtag has been made clear, are still confused.
Main image of Cher at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards via s_bukley on Shutterstock