Tom Hiddleston's Nutty Fangirls Get Loki'd By Fake Thor Twitter, Hiddles Apologises

On Sept. 13, 2012, fans of actor Tom Hiddleston (who portrays trickster god Loki in "Thor") received word via Twitter account @Thor2themovie that the following day, "Thor: The Dark World" set photos of Tom Hiddleston would be released. Hiddleston, who has a notable following of female fans identifying themselves as both 'Hiddles' Army' and 'Loki's Army,' tweeted nothing official about the subject on the 13th.

However, word spread quickly, especially on Twitter and Tumblr. The news seemed believable after pictures of "Thor: The Dark World" star Chris Hemsworth surfaced earlier in the week. Many Tumblr users posted that they were staying home from school or work just to see the photos, and there was a great deal of excitement about it within the fandom.

However, Sept. 14 arrived with no Loki pictures. Instead, @Thor2themovie (the now-deactivated Twitter account that posted the 'original news') offered only a message to fans saying that they'd been Loki'd. Many fans expressed disappointment and one blogger even apologized for her inadvertent spreading of such a large rumor. (and to no one's surprise, Hiddles apologised via twitter for something that was not his fault....again)

It Happens All the Time

Unfortunately, "Avengers" fans and Hiddlestoners, this happens all the time. Take a look at Morgan Freeman, internationally famous actor. Freeman is a victim of Twitter, where we learned of his alleged death. There's also a Freeman parody account that muses about everything from race relations to the meaning of life.

How Can You Tell if a Celebrity Twitter Account is Real?

Most real celebrity accounts are verified. Twitter verifies accounts through its own internal process. Twitter officially states, "We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas. We verify business partners from time to time and individuals at high risk of impersonation."

Twitter also mentions that verified accounts will have the verified symbol next to the user name; it will also appear next to names in user searches.

Ramifications of Uninformed Twitter Population

Twitter has propelled the power of politics and Hollywood, allowing politicians, sports stars, corporate spokespeople, and entertainers to connect directly with the public. This has resulted in many positive and negative effects:

Famous personalities can confirm or deny rumors and other information directly
Politicians and celebrities have instant and direct access to their supporters-unless they choose to, they no longer exist in a vacuum of communication filtered by publicists
Fake accounts spread rumors easily and bloggers fail to verify original sources, especially in entertainment news
Social media users react and panic
Imagine if this happened on a large scale. Social media has been used to communicate when phones are down (I communicated almost entirely by instant messenger on a pre-Facebook Sept. 11, 2001) and it's even helped revolutions happen. If this happened to spread false news virally, the effects could be devastating.

It is no longer only up to journalists to purvey and refine information or to decide what information others receive. The general public determines what is written, read, and spread-which means verifying that information is now also a public responsibility.

How to Fix This

By verifying accounts, Twitter takes a responsible approach to managing social media without censoring it-also protecting its users and making it a safe place for real celebrities to post messages. Twitter users can promote and respect this example by verifying necessary accounts and information before retweeting or posting it it.

Additionally, evaluate the information itself. The Hiddleston photo stunt was suspect for a few reasons:

No other publicity photos have been taken or released
The existing set photos of other actors (Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Jaimie Alexander as Sif) were unofficial
The other tweets sent out by @Thor2themovie were not in line with official Marvel Entertainment press releases, most of which are publicly available online following any embargo dates.

If you can prove that information is fake, save your fandom, political party, or favorite sports team the headache and point it out in a public setting.

Additionally, you can follow Tom Hiddleston's verified Twitter account as well as the official Marvel Entertainment account.

image source, more about the wank