Morph creator at centre of Twitter trend

Artist Hart’s death is mourned for a second time

Tony HartFormer television artist and presenter Tony Hart’s death was mourned on Twitter today, despite the fact that he died six years ago.

The social media network was inundated with messages, mainly from those who grew up watching him on his popular children’s programmes, such as Vision On, which was aimed at the hard of hearing.

Most of those posting links referred to an old article in The Guardian about his death which surged to top of its most read online articles. It forced the paper to publish an upate on the website  pointing out that Mr Hart died in 2009.

He was known, not only for introducing a generation of youngsters to art, but for his stop-motion character Morph.

There were suggestions that the trend had been started by a Facebook user posting an obituary for Mr Hart, although it could not be verified.

While this is an unusual case, there have been examples on social media of people being mistakenly taken for dead, or mistaken for someone who has died.  Following the death of US comedian Robin Williams last year, thousands of Twitter users mistakenly posted tributes to singer Robbie Williams, while actress Joan Collins received mentions on networks following the death of another comedian Joan Rivers. Wildlife presenter Sir David Attenborough was mistaken for his brother, the late Lord Richard Attenborough.

Mistakes like this are nothing new, but the immediacy of online reporting has meant people react without properly checking first. There have also been errors in financial circles. Companies with similar names have been the subject of surges and slumps in their share prices because someone has mis-read or mis-heard the actual name.

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