Biggest Source of Gossip Online? Your Email-Forwarding Friend

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Don’t blame the bloggers for starting all that gossip. Chances are, the email in your inbox from your friend is what started the rumor mill going.

Scientific American reported that when it came to the 2008 presidential election, which was rife with false gossip items along the likes of “Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US” and “Sarah Palin said that God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago,” most people trusted e-mails forwarded from their friends more than what they read on blogs online. The information came from researcher R. Kelly Garrett who surveyed 600 random Americans about online gossiping habits.

Although the blogosphere had more rumors going than your email account could hold, people tend to trust information sent to them from someone they knew. It’s not only that: Those same people were more likely to share that information with their social networks by forwarding that message rather than sharing the knowledge from a blog they read. So if you’re an email-forwarding fiend, you’re just as much to blame for a rumor as the person who started it.

More on TIME.com:

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Apple Looking to Simplify iPhone 5 with Aluminum Body, Internal Antenna?

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