Rapper Lil Tecca is not dead. Rumors of his death have been spreading since 2019 but there is no proof or evidence of his death. In February 2020, Lil Tecca released his latest song, “IDK.” Less than 24 hours before the publication of this article, Lil Tecca posted this photo to his official Instagram page.
The rumor first began to spread online on September 15, 2019, with Lil Tecca aka Tyler Sharpe, 17, responding to the hoax by tweeting, “we ?️re gon win no matter how much they want us to lose hahaaaa.” That same day, Lil Tecca responded to a fan who tweeted at him, “Why People Saying U Dead” To which the rapper responded, “they want attention.”
A video released in relation to the hoax was titled, “LIL TECCA SHOT DEAD AT JFK AIRPORT??” The fake report surrounding the JFK shooting says that Tecca was due to catch a flight to Toronto at 9 a.m. That report comes from June 2018. It says that Tecca was shot dead as he waited at the gate to get on his flight.
There are no reports of a shooting at JFK Airport since August 2016, when panic engulfed the airport after unfounded rumors of shots fired spread.
Death hoaxes are hugely common in the internet age. In March 2014, ABC News published a guideline for internet users in order to help them to avoid falling for death hoaxes. At that time, a common death hoax suggested that various celebrities, including Jeff Goldblum and The Rock had died after falling from some cliffs in New Zealand. The ABC article pointed out that readers should be eagle-eyed for “bait text.” “Bait text” is something that seems interesting but has been used multiple times in multiple other fake stories.
While a Washington Post article on the same topic encouraged users to stick to known websites and noted that, “Breaking news stories will usually include the reporter’s name; hoaxes, mysteriously, go un-bylined.”
In 2014, The Week published a list of hoax sites. They included, Empire News, The National Report, Huzlers, Daily Currant and Free Wood Post. The website noted that occasionally news stories from satire sites such as The Onion and Clickhole are circulated as legitimate news. The Week article concludes simply that users should, “Take 30 seconds to determine whether something is real before you blast it out to hundreds of people. We’ll all have a better internet for it.” Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman, a specialist in fake news, told DigiDay in 2012, “Fake news relies on viral sharing. If you think about why so many stars are subject to death hoaxes, they’ve been part of a pop culture that people have an emotional connection to. And that is at the core of what makes fake news work.”
Also in 2014, a digital media professor at Indiana University, Mark Bell, told the New York Times that part of the reason for the prevalence of death hoaxes is that “People like to lie. They get a thrill from it. There is a little hit of dopamine when you lie, especially a lie that is believed by somebody else.” While the Independent rationalized that the popularity for the stories was simply “because people want to read them.” Mark Bell also said of the phenomenon, “There’s not a lot of cost, either financially, morally, legally or criminally in doing this.”