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An urban legend is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. The term is often used with a meaning similar to the expression "apocryphal story." Urban legends are not necessarily untrue, but they are often false, distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized. Despite the name, urban legends do not necessarily take place in an urban setting. The name is designed to differentiate them from traditional folklore in preindustrial times.
Urban legends are sometimes repeated in news stories and, in recent years, distributed by e-mail . People frequently say such tales happened to a "friend of a friend"—so often, in fact, that " friend of a friend ", or "FOAF", has become a commonly used term for this sort of story.