YouTube/Screenshot

In a now-deleted discussion thread, 4chan users planned the execution of “Operation Drake,” a hoax aimed at convincing the Internet that Drake had died. Earlier this week, it briefly worked.

Basically, here’s what happened: 4channers started posting comments on the official YouTube version of the Canadian rapper’s video for “Hotline Bling,” offering condolences for Drake’s (fake) death. Those comments were then voted “up” by those in on the joke, while comments indicating that maybe the whole thing was a hoax were voted down.

[What was fake on the Internet this week: Why do we even bother, honestly?]

So now, a full day after this whole thing got underway, the top comments on “Hotline Bling,” now with 17 million views, are a bunch of “RIP Drake” messages.


YouTube/Screenshot

It escalated. Someone wrote a Buzzfeed community post “reporting” Drake’s death in a fatal car crash, and that post fell into the Internet’s distribution machine — until the post was eventually deleted (the URL now displays an editor’s note explaining that “a BuzzFeed community user posted a false claim about the musician Drake to this space”). For a brief period of time, Drake’s Wikipedia entry said that the rapper died on Nov. 22:


Wikipedia/Screenshot of archived revision to Drake’s Wikipedia entry.

The 4Chan subreddit then started discussing the whole thing. Although thoroughly debunked, rumors of Drake’s death in a car crash will continue to echo for a few days. Oh well.

Everybody, even Drake, will die some day. But celebrities like Drake, the guy from Blue’s Clues, and a bunch of others seem destined to “die” in a social media hoax whenever the wind is right, and someone is bored. This isn’t even the first death hoax involving Drake — he was the victim of mildly successful death hoaxes at least twice in 2012.

4Chan’s users have a long history of using the Internet’s speed against itself, to spread false information as far as it will go. Sometimes it’s funny; sometimes it’s malicious. But something about this Drake prank just feels so pedestrian, you know? Or maybe that’s The Intersect’s weariness with the Internet’s infinite capacity for spreading hoaxes.

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No, selfies have not killed more people than sharks. That’s ridiculous.