Politics

Kim Jong Un: Dead or alive

kim_jong_un_heir_kim_jong_il_north_korea_12_19_2011.jpg

A man watches a TV showing a close-up of Kim Jong Un, in Seoul, South Korea, September 30, 2010.

Credit:

Jung Yeon-Je

Oh, Twitter. Can't you speak the truth and only the truth?

Rumors have been swirling around Twitter and its Chinese counterpart, Weibo, that North Korea's young new leader has died. Even a (fake) Twitter account with the handle @BBCLiveNews insisted the young dictator had been killed.  It shouted this afternoon:

Confirmed breaking news. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un assassinated. Updates to follow.

And yet, the thing about Twitter and death is that they often go together, until they don't.

NPR notoriously reported last year that a gunman had killed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during a shootout in Arizona. Tweets quoting NPR circulated like mad, until it was determined that Giffords was badly injured but very much alive.

More from GlobalPost: After Kim Jong ll

Then again last month rumors quickly spread on Twitter that former Penn State football coach and legend Joe Paterno had died of lung cancer.

Until the Tweets changed course -- Paterno was doing badly but, at that moment, very much alive.

And now, Kim Jong Un. There have been rumors today that "several black cars" were seen heading to the North Korean embassy in Beijing where he was staying, Business Insider reported. There have been rumors that he was assassinated. And others that he has run away. And some that there has been a coup to remove him from power.

So where do we stand now? Is he dead? Is he alive? Well, here at GlobalPost we can authoritatively tell you it is definitely, no question about it, one or the other.

[View the story "Is Kim Jong Un dead or alive?" on Storify]