The original theory says that because Avril rose to fame when she was just 18-years-old, her record label employed lookalike and “best friend” Melissa Vandella to impersonate her for the paparazzi as the “real Avril” struggled to deal with attention.
Then when Avril “died” in 2003 at the height of her career, label bosses decided to cover up her death and continue to release songs by Avril, but using Melissa instead.
Social researcher Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne said conspiracy theories that blow up over the internet were based on the same formula as a “chain letter”.
“This person forwards it to six people, who each forward it to another six ... so you’ve got that scale of something that would get out of control very, very quickly,” she said.
To make it worth going viral, Dr Rosewarne said a conspiracy theory must have the “right ingredients” — namely some humour, a celebrity and the right setting.