Russian President Vladimir Putin is the latest subject of death rumors on social media and, once again, the rumors are unlikely to be true. Of course, this isn't the first time a celebrity death hoax has taken over social media. Pranksters have taken to Facebook and Twitter in the past declaring the deaths of everyone from Miley Cyrus to Betty White. But, this hoax feels different because it hints at a much deeper problem that's brewing.
The rumors got started because Putin hasn't been seen out and about since March 5. He's also canceled several meetings with other political figures in recent days. Social media users and some news outlets have speculated that the leader might be sick or even dead.
The Brookings Institution's Hannah Thoburn told me there was just no way to know the real reason for his absence from public life. "For all we know, he probably has the flu, or just wanted to hang out with his daughters or something. You never know what it is.
Even though it's very unlikely the rumors are true, they're still making plenty of people nervous in Russia.