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Misinformation: Home

This guide will introduce you to the different types of misinformation, disinformation, and ways you can protect yourself.

Many of us have heard the terms "fake news" and "catfishing," but are you aware that these are only examples of misinformation? This guide will introduce you to the different types of misinformation, disinformation, and ways you can protect yourself.

Understanding Misinformation

Misinformation is the accidental sharing of false or misleading information. The may happen when we share news articles and social media posts without reading the entire contents or verifying the information they contain. Disinformation is the deliberate sharing of false or misleading information. This is often down to purposefully mislead others in order to push political agendas, ideologies, or to scam strangers on the internet. Sometimes "trolls" create disinformation just for the purpose of upsetting others.

Dis / Misinformation Cycle Example:
Disinformation is created to push an agenda or an ideology. The content creator then releases the disinformation online, often through social media carefully selected to incite the most people and elicit the biggest response. Arrow Pointing Right Another person browses the same social media platform and comes across the disinformation. The post goes against their personal values and angers them. They then share the post to their friends, who share to those, creating a cycle of misinformation.

Five Types of Misinformation

False Context Icon

False Context is text, photo, video, or other content that is out of context to change its meaning. Often, this will be older or unrelated content that is presented as something new or relevant.

Example: A photo of a crowd taken before an event may be presented as being taken during the event, making it appear that the event had very low attendance.

Fabricated Content Icon

Fabricated Content is text, photo, video, or other content that is completely made up. This type of disinformation may include completely fictional news reports and computer-generate images.

Example: Deepfake videos that use AI to make politicians or celebrities appear to say something they didn't actually say.

Imposter Content Icon

Imposter Content is fake content that uses well-known people, like celebrities, or brands and logos to give the appearance of being authentic and fool readers.

Example: A fake tweet that appears to come from either President Obama or President Trump.

Stolen Satire Icon

Stolen Satire is whenever satire, that is mean to parody serious issues, is presented as authentic.

Example: When a humor piece from a source such as The Daily Show or The Onion is presented as an actual, factual news story.

Manipulated Content Icon

Manipulated Content is text, photo, video, or other content is altered, or "doctored," in a way that changes the context of the original content. Often, this approach includes adding or removing content through Photoshop or other visual manipulations.

Example: Photoshopped photographs of politicians that make them appear sickly or weak.