During the 2008 presidential election, the Internet became a giant rumor mill. For example, there were the ___1___ claiming that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fake. Or ones spreading the phony Sarah Palin quote, “God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago”.
Some political scholars worry the Web could ___2___, by misinforming and polarizing voters. But Web sites and blogs don’t serve up the most influential rumors. Our in-boxes do. So says a study of e-mail in the journal Human Communication Research. [R. Kelly Garrett, "Troubling Consequences of Online Political Rumoring"]
Just after the election, researcher R. Kelly Garrett randomly surveyed 600 Americans about their online habits, and whether they'd heard—and believed—a number of widespread rumors. He found that the Web does expose us to more rumors. But the Web also delivers more rebuttals, which can ___3___.
E-mail’s more insidious. Because you’re more likely to believe that rumor ___4___ by cousin Rob. And the more you believe something, Garrett says, the more you want to share it with your social network—___5___.
So before you hit SEND to forward e-mail, ask yourself: Do I know the item I'm sharing is true, or do I just want it to be?


viral e-mails undermine democracy even the field forwarded spawning a nasty cascade of misperception2008年美国大选期间,互联网成了大型谣言工厂。比如说,就有人利用邮件大肆宣称奥巴马的出生证明是伪造的;再比如说,有人假冒萨拉佩林扬言“4000年前上帝造出了恐龙”╮(╯_╰)╭ 一些政治学者担心人们利用网络传播虚假信息、分化选举人会给国家的民主政治带来不利影响。不过《人类传播研究》上的一篇报告指出,最可怖的谣言散布者不是网页或是博客,而是——邮件。 大选一结束,加瑞特就随机对600名美国人的上网爱好以及对网上谣言的听信度进行了调查。加瑞特发现网页谣传确实数量惊人,但反驳谣言的也不占少数,几乎与前者持平。 而邮件则更令人防不胜防,因为人们更容易相信从亲戚朋友那里转发来的消息。加瑞特说,人们越是对某事信以为真,就越想通过社交网络和他人分享——谣传也就如滔滔江水,连绵不绝了~ 所以说在你转发邮件之前先得问问自己:这是真的假的?我要让它成为事实吗?