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Did you see an article whose title declared that a legendary Star Trek actor had been found dead?

William Shatner is alive and kicking. In fact, Thursday was his birthday — the beloved actor is now 87 years old.

But he’s furious about fake news being spread about him, and demanding that Facebook take action.

William Shatner Image
Photo via Getty Images

You know how, sometimes, social media platforms experience a surge in popularity?

This is not that time for Facebook. 

In fact, between new revelations that the data of 50 million users was mined to help the Trump campaign in 2016 and intense scrutiny over Russia using Facebook as a divisive weapon against the U.S. …the social media platform is not enjoying a lot of good press.

And we don’t just mean because Jim Carrey dumped his Facebook stock.

Even Snapchat, which has recently been dismissed by Kylie Jenner and blasted by Rihanna and has been massively devalued as a result, is probably thanking their lucky stars that they’re not Facebook right now.

Now, Facebook has drawn the ire of an acting legend … by sharing a death hoax advertisement.

Shatner Death Hoax Tweet 01

There is a difference between a clickbait headline, which summarizes an article or poses a question that’s designed to draw a reader’s attention, and a bold-faced lie.

Announcing that a living actor has been found dead is, at best, a hoax in extremely poor taste.

A fan tweeted at William Shatner:

"I thought you might want to know you’re dead." Accompanying those words was a screencap of a Facebook ad.

The Star Trek actor was not amused.

Shatner Death Hoax Tweet 02

Shatner quoted the tweet, writing: 

"Hey @facebook isn’t this your messenger app? What’s up with you allowing this Acocet Retail Sales ad to pass your muster? Thought you were doing something about this?"

By "doing something about this," he of course means that Facebook has announced that they’re taking steps to combat the spread of 

He got a reply to his tweet:

"Hi, I’m from Facebook. Thanks for letting us know about this. We have removed this ad and Page from Facebook."

Shatner then quoted that tweet with a message of his own:


Shatner Death Hoax Tweet 03

"Thank you. I’m not planning on dying so please continue to block those kinds of ads."

(Honestly, the part about not planning on dying is, as the youths would say, a big mood)

Article titles are designed to be interesting and enticing, but a number of actors are continuously plagued by ads claiming that they’re dead.

Some argue that these titles are all in good fun and have no agenda beyond eliciting clicks.

Others, however, point out that these articles can send fans into a panic and can be extremely hurtful to the still-living stars themselves.

Especially when, like Shatner, they are advanced in years. The fact that this went down on Twitter on the day before his birthday cannot have been fun.

William Shatner Photo
Photo via Getty

Despite his age, William Shatner has surprised many with his social media savvy.

A few years ago, he began livetweeting The 100, as he considered it the last hope of science fiction fans.

This was before the Syfy channel’s de-rebranding, when they came back with shows like Dark MatterKilljoys, and The Expanse.

Since then, of course, Star Trek: Discovery has come out, and more and more networks and streaming platforms are realizing that high-quality science fiction television is worth the sometimes hefty price.

Shatner’s legacy lives on. And so does he.