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Satirical Article Falsely Claims Flappy Bird Creator Committed Suicide

Outline
Circulating report claims that the developer of the wildly popular game 'Flappy Bird' has committed suicide. It also claims that at least seven other people have committed suicide because the game was removed from app stores.

Flappy Bird Satire


Brief Analysis
The claims in the report are untrue. Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen has not committed suicide. The developer has indeed removed the game from app stores, but there are no reports of suicides attributed to the removal of the game. The report comes courtesy of the satirical website Huzlers.com. All articles published on the site are fictional. Once this and other such articles escape the satirical context of their original websites, they soon degrade into nothing more than pointless hoaxes that spread misinformation and confusion.

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Example

Creator of 'Flappy Bird' Commits Suicide 7 Others Also Suicide This Morning Due To Flappy Bird

SAN FRANCISCO Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen has just been found dead in his home with a gunshot wound in his head.

Flappy Bird Satire


Detailed Analysis


According to a message that is circulating rapidly via social media, Dong Nguyen, the developer of the popular game Flappy Bird has committed suicide. The message also claims that 7 other people have taken their own lives because the game was removed from the app store.

The circulating message links to a longer report published on Huzlers.com. The report suggests that Dong Nguyen could not handle pressure caused by the amazing popularity of the game and therefore took his life in response.

However, the claims in the message are nonsense. Although he did remove the game from app stores under somewhat mysterious circumstances, The Flappy Bird developer has not committed suicide. Nor are there any credible reports that support the claim that seven people have killed themselves because the game is no longer available.

The fake news story was first published on the website Huzlers.com. The site bills itself as satirical, and places the following disclaimer in the footer of its article pages:
Huzlers.com is a combination of real shocking news and satire news to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief.

Nothing published on the website should be taken seriously. The site is responsible for a number of fake reports that circulate online causing angst and confusion as they travel. Another report from Huzlers falsely claimed that the 2014 Super Bowl game was being investigated by the NFL due to suspicions that the game had been rigged. And, an earlier 'Flappy Bird' article on the site made the false claim that a teenager had killed his brother after the brother achieved a higher score in the game. The site even makes the outlandish claim that McDonalds uses human meat in its food products.

Exactly what defines satire is subjective and largely dependent on the views and sensibilities of the individual reader. But it is hard to see how much of the material churned out by sites like Huzler.com can be considered satire at all. In this writer's opinion, creating a fake report that claims that a real person has committed suicide - and actually naming that person - is in decidedly poor taste and does not deserve to be thought of as satire at all.

Moreover, while these stories may maintain a tenuous hold on their satirical status when read in context on their original websites, they often escape into the wilds of the interwebs, thereby spreading nonsense and misinformation far and wide. They soon degrade into nothing more than pointless hoaxes that add even more dross to an Internet already cluttered with all manner of stuff and nonsense.

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Last updated: February 11, 2014
First published: February 11, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Creator of 'Flappy Bird' Commits Suicide 7 Others Also Suicide This Morning Due To Flappy Bird
The mysterious takedown of the Flappy Bird app
Satire - 'Super Bowl XLVIII Believed to have been Rigged'





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