Facebook post falsely claims Canadian actress Riele Downs is dead
A Facebook post shared hundreds of times in Nigeria claims that popular Canadian actress Riele Downs is dead. But this is false: US television channel Nickelodeon confirmed the young actress is still alive and the Facebook account has since retracted the rumour.
The claim originated from a Facebook page called Riele Downs Fans, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Facebook’s Page Transparency information confirms it is managed by an account registered in Nigeria.
“Popular Canadian Actress and Nickelodeon's Henry Danger Co-Star Riele West Downs is dead,” reads the post from the Facebook page. It has been shared more than 500 times and drawn over 700 comments since publication on April 11, 2021.
Labelled “shocking news”, the post features a collage of four photos of Downs overlaid with “sad” emoticons and an “RIP” inscription.
The 19-year-old actress is popular for her role as Charlotte on the American superhero comedy television series "Henry Danger", which aired on US entertainment channel Nickelodeon.
AFP Fact Check found that the popular actress has been inactive on social media in recent weeks.
The post about her purported death emerged online after Downs promised to return “to social media soon,” according to her last tweet published on March 25, 2021. “I’ve been on a blissful vacation from it all.”
I’m returning back to social media soon, promise 😅 I’ve been on a blissful vacation from it all— riele downs (@rieledowns) March 25, 2021
But two days later, she posted a photo of two people, including herself, on her Instagram account, which has 2.5 million followers. The caption reads: “Celebrated my lil sis’ 16th bday yesterday.”
In reality, there is no official evidence that Downs is dead.
Nickelodeon has dismissed the claim as false.
“Riele is alive and well,” Nickelodeon spokeswoman Ariana Ubont told AFP Fact Check. “Thanks for the heads up about this (false claim)."
AFP Fact Check found no reports by reputable media organisations about Downs’ purported death.
Meanwhile, the Facebook page behind the claim has retracted it with an apology on April 15, 2021.
“So sorry for the fake post of our adorable Riele Downs being dead... Earlier,” reads the post. “The page was hacked... But I’ve gotten it back Plz don't be offended I love Riele and y’all too (sic).”