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The rumor can be defined as common talk or opinion; widely disseminated belief having no discernable foundation or source.

But anyone on the Internet knows the truth about rumors: They aren't just spread through common talk. A keyboard and busy fingers will spread gossip much better and faster than a set of lips and a listening ear.

Once that rumor works its way into the boundless network of the Internet, there is little any one can do to reverse its adverse effects. And as Internet users exchange the gossip they tend to forget the source, or more aptly put, lack of source. No matter how untrue it is, it gains integrity by the sheer number of times it has been published.

"The lie itself can not be excised," writes Stephen Glover, a reporter for the London Daily Mail. "It is like a virus which, once it has entered the blood stream of the World Wide Web, multiplies itself thousands and then millions of times. Internet users have exchanged the story and it has been talked about in chat rooms until, in some minds, it must have acquired the status of truth."1

"Cyber rumors" as they are often referred to are incredible dangerous because they spread so rapidly so fast. Rebecca Fowler, a writer from England's Observer Newspaper believes that gossip has made the Internet its most powerful weapon. "The Web is now a global garden fence over which scandal, however unsubstantiated, can pass to millions in seconds,"2


1 Glover, Stephen. "Scurrilous internet rumours and the death of privacy." London Daily Mail. December 2, 2002, p.16

2 Fowler, Rebecca," Focus: Cyber Scandel: The Perfect Rumour. The Observer. December 1, 2002 p.20

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