A Twitter hoax that author Cormac McCarthy had died tricked many on Tuesday, including USA Today and writer Joyce Carol Oates.
A bogus Twitter account resembling book publisher Alfred A. Knopf's handle tweeted Tuesday morning in broken English that the author of The Road and No County for Old Men had died.
"URGENT. Author Cormac McCarthy dies for stroke at 82," said the tweet, which was allegedly created by inveterate Italian hoaxer Tommaso De Benedetti, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tweet and the account were soon deleted.
For the record, the 82-year-old is very much alive, according to Penguin Random House, which owns Knopf.
Despite the awkward wording from the imposter account, USA Today notified readers that the Pulitzer Prize winner had passed. The newspaper hurriedly send out updates of its mistake.
Oates, meanwhile, mourned McCarthy on her Twitter account.
De Benedetti has also concocted previous false reports of deaths about the pope, Fidel Castro and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, to show the weakness of news media, according to The Guardian. Last week, De Benedetti tried another scam by creating a Twitter account for Don DeLillo, another media-shy writer.
"Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world but the news media believes it because of its need for speed," De Benedetti told The Guardian in 2012.