When news of Muammar Gaddafi‘s death broke yesterday, a strange snowball effect began on Twitter: First, some users innocently commented that the Libyan dictator resembled singer Carlos Santana; then people started asking if Santana had died; then before you knew it, there were photos of Gaddafi reading “R.I.P. Carlos Santana 1947-2011.”
What the hell, guys. It’s really not that difficult to do a Google Image Search and notice the differences between these men. Or read the news stories and realize that there’s no way that a famous guitarist would get shot in the face by troops in Libya. Instead, a weird domino effect happened on Twitter where everyone who logged on immediately got pulled into the death hoax and then passed it on to the next round of users who caught sight of the hashtag.
Here are some of the best tweets:
@nisald: RIP evil Carlos Santana
@urethrafranklin: Oh yeah RIP Carlos Santana. You haven’t been cool in like 35 years but Soul Sacrifice is like one of my faves.
@upandatthem: RIP Carlos Santana – good night sweet prince
@Kazzmania: RIP Carlos Santana, he’s playing Smooth to the angels now
But I pity the fools who went to Wikipedia last night; someone had posted not that Carlos was dead, but the equally untrue claim that Gaddafi was actually his father:
That misinformation has since been corrected. At this point — a little less than a day after Gaddafi’s death was announced — the results page for “R.I.P. Carlos Santana” is still getting a few updates, but the tweets seem to be mostly joking. People are mostly amused at how easily they got caught up in the ruckus.
To be fair, they do wear pretty similar hats.