We started the sixth chapter which deals with the recipient of lashon hara. Though both are forbidden on a Torah level yet there is a difference between accepting lashon hara and listening to lashon hara.
Halacha 1 deals with accepting lashon hara which is defined as decisively deciding in one’s heart that what you heard is true which is a problem because now the one being talked about is disgraceful in your eyes even if you don’t show any response to what you heard. If you show a response to what you heard is two times worse than just accepting in your heart, either way the mechilta learns that one who accepts lashon hara as truth is worse than the one saying it and deserves to be thrown to the dogs. The Chofetz Chaim does caution in his footnote (1) that though it is forbidden to accept lashon hara as truth but one shouldn’t decide the speaker is a liar. Rather he should take the middle ground and be indecisive and if he has to, for his own or others benefits he can do research into the matter and decide on his own whether it really is true or not.
Halacha 2 says that one is forbidden to have an ear out to listen to lashon hara even if he doesn’t accept what is being said. However one is aloud to keep his ears open if what he’s listening to will help him or someone else in some way. For example if one tells him about a potential shidduch or partnership he can listen and do research to see if it is really true what the person said. This is permitted because it can avoid much hardship and strife in the future. Also if you think you are influential enough then you can listen to someone talk about someone else who did something wrong if you think you can go over to the wrongdoer and help him change his ways. Otherwise listening just to hear juicy info about others is strictly forbidden by the Torah.