ew research into the science of rumours suggests Obama's approach may be a sounder strategy – and the reasons why it makes sense suggest that we misunderstand both how rumours work and why they exist. Rumours, it turns out, are driven by real curiosity and the desire to know more information. Even negative rumours aren't just scurrilous or prurient – they often serve as glue for people's social networks. And although it seems counterintuitive, these facts about rumour suggest that, often, the best way to help stem a rumour is to spread it. The idea of "not dignifying a rumour with a response" reflects a deep misunderstanding of what rumours are, how they are fuelled, and what purposes they serve in society.