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“I’m happy to be alive,” says Greek director Costa Gavras on the news of his “death”

Greek and international media including news agencies like Associated Press and mainstream media like NY Times fell victim of a hoax claiming that prominent Greek film director Costa Gavras had died. The hoax was posted on social media on Thursday afternoon.

“I am happy to be alive,” prominent Greek director Costas Gavras told state ERT TV short after 4 o’ clock Thursday afternoon. “I confirm I am very much alive. I heard the news that I was dead by a colleague of yours,” the 85-year-old added.

While Gavras was speaking to ERT on the phone, one after the other mainstream media in Greece and abroad were deleting posts announcing the “death of Coast Gavras” on Twitter and Facebook.

Those who reacted were with sad and crying emoijs were puzzled. What had happened?

The holder of a Twitter account had posted Gavras’ death with a name similar to the new Greek Minister for Culture and Sports Myrsini Zorba. Twenty minutes later the same account holder posted that it was fake news.

Tommaso De Benedetti, an Italian schoolteacher,  is known to use fake accounts with names of world leaders and other prominent names on Twitter to “show how weak media are,” as he once said in an interview.

The real Myrsini Zorba who was appointed on Wednesday as Culture Minister told state TV that her Twitter account had a different name and that she would make a denouncement to the e-crime department of the Greek police.

I personally heard of Gavras’ death when I heard him speaking about it on state TV. I quickly checked in Twitter and stumbled upon both Tweets as posted above. I must confess I first thought  “who is @MZorbaGr” then I realized it was the new Culture Minister. As Twitter is in fast and in real time, it was clear within seconds it was fakes news. But I thought that the administrator of Myrsini Zorba’s Twitter account had indeed made a gaffe. As dozens of Tweeps tried at the same time to clear the issue, it was quickly clear how the things stood.

While the issue seemed settled, in Greece, the issue turned quickly political as usual.

Some Greek journalists and media supporting the opposition accused and kept accusing Zorba for having committing a gaffe; others claimed that her Twitter account was hacked, although this was not true too.

Several Greek media claimed that Zorba was victim of a hoax. In fact it was the media that reported Gavras’ death without cross-checking and double confirmation that were the victims of the hoax.

Fake news on fake news for political purposes and exploitation. Alt-right Steve Bannon has made a school, Bannonism, that has a lot of good students in Greece.

PS Thank Goodness Costas Gavras was not fishing in the open sea with no mobile signal and was able to confirm that he Z.

Z is the title of Gavras famous political thriller and is the abbreviation of the word “Zει” which means he is alive.

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