Brad Pitt, other celebrity death hoaxes on Facebook could be phishing scam

Another fake news story was making the rounds on Facebook over the weekend.

The Facebook post, which falsely claimed that actor Brad Pitt is dead, began circulating shortly after the announcement of Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce surfaced last week. Once users clicked on what appeared to be a Fox News report detailing the actor’s “death,” they were redirected to another page that requested their login information, giving hackers access to their profile.

The false article was not being posted directly to Facebook, rather it was being generated through an app. Teams at Facebook detect apps that violate the site’s policies and shut them down, ensuring they don’t continue to pose a risk to users.

But that doesn’t mean users don’t need to be cautious. Other hoaxes are likely to pop up.

According to, the clickbait site responsible for generating the fake “breaking news” story has published several celebrity death hoaxes over the past few weeks, including Vin Diesel, Nicolas Cage, Jaden Smith, Jim Carrey, Sylvester Stallone and John Cena.

Facebook advises users do two things if they spot a fake story:

  1. If you suspect a story is fake, whether you simply believe it is false or click through it and notice something seems off, report the actual post to Facebook so the company can learn more about it.
  2. If you click on one of these posts and realize it’s not a real news story, exit the page. Be wary of pages that ask you for credentials, and never put in personal information on sites that pop up unexpectedly.

If you happen to click on a hoax story – like the one above – don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re at risk of getting hacked. Only users who enter their personal information are at risk.

The best advice in a nutshell: Avoid clickbait, and don’t share personal information just because some random site asks you for it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *