KIM JONG UN DEAD! ASSASINATED in Bejing CHINA?
Did social media just prematurely kill off the leader of North Korea?
Rumours that Kim Jong-un, the country's supreme leader, has been assassinated just months after he took power originated on Chinese microblogging service Weibo and have now spread all over Twitter.
Others are reporting that Jong-un may be on the run rather than dead, but that some kind of coup is taking place.
The rumours remain unsubstantiated, and as Adrian Chen at Gawker wrote, these types of reports crop up often given the furtive nature of North Korea's government.
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However, the reports are beginning to gather steam, especially now that a couple of American news outlets have reported on the rumors.
Weibo is in many ways the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and disseminates news at a rapid pace. People were tipped off that there was something happening that involved Jong-Un, who succeeded his later father Kim Jong-Il, because of the mass of cars parked outside of his resident.
One person on Weibo wrote (poor translation), "confirmed reports, the top leaders in # Korea # # jinzhengen was assassinated # . Reportedly occurred at 2:45 on the 10th, gold and three fat was assassinated in their own villa, the Korean Embassy in Beijing has brought together more than 30 cars, the scale of more than Kim Jong-il's death the situation."
Yet many Twitter users are exercising caution, aware that news like this can spread without much to sustain it.
A sample of the dubious tweeters:
"Kim Jong Un apparently assasinated in Beijing. Source: 'Chinese Twitter'. What does that even mean? One Chinese person's account? or @China?" AdamThompson1 tweeted.
"Wait for confirmation on Kim Jong Un death rumors. Twitter is also reporting that 'Jonas Brothers are the best band,'" Matt Binder wrote.
"Rumors from Chinese twitter that Kim Jong Un assassinated this morning in Beijing. pretty unlikely," Dan Bennett posted.
So did social media spread the news or cause unnecessary hysteria? We will update when the news develops.
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