In November 2023, false rumors claiming that American TV personality Steve Harvey had died circulated on Facebook and YouTube. Commenters left replies implying that they believed the rumor was real. However, these posts offered no evidence for an onlooker to independently verify the claim.
That's because there was no evidence that the comedian died, as of November 2023. Had that actually happened, reputable news outlets such as The Associated Press would have published obituaries to memorialize his death, but no such tributes exist.
In addition to the social media posts, a November 2023 article on MediaMass drew attention to the alleged celebrity death, calling the death report a hoax. However, MediaMass is not a reliable source of information. The outlet describes its articles as "satire,” and a page on its website says its goal is to “expose with humor, exaggeration and ridicule the contemporary mass production and mass consumption that we observe."
Harvey was targeted by multiple death hoaxes in 2023, first in March, which Snopes checked. The rumors resurfaced in June on Twitter when "RIP Harvey" trended in reference to a Kentucky radio regular named Harvey Doyle.
looked at my phone like this cuz i thought Steve Harvey died when i saw RIP Harvey trendinh pic.twitter.com/dCUCzWXyQz
— 4ngl 🍀 (@4nglWorldWide) July 18, 2023
The claim also resurfaced in September when the similarly-named founder of the rock group Smash Mouth, Steve Harwell, died.
Celebrity death hoaxes are a form of junk news, designed to get gullible readers to linger on a website or engage with a social media user because a famous person is involved. Such articles are often clickbait, if not outright phishing scams. In rare cases, the unfactual rumors are based on faulty reporting or misunderstandings.