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Misinformation and Disinformation

fact vs fake
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never miss viewpointsKerby Anderson

The terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” are frequently tossed around. That is why it is good to define the terms and explain why they are often misused.

Getting a good definition shouldn’t be difficult. Historically, dictionaries have defined misinformation as false or mistaken information. But if you type the word misinformation into some Internet websites, you will get a definition that implies that it includes information intended to deceive others. That should be the definition for disinformation which intends to deliberately deceive people.

Another problem arises from the tendency of pundits and politicians to blur facts and opinions. They assume their opinions and subjective interpretations are the same as objective facts. Raw data requires interpretation, but too many in politics and social media naively assume their interpretations and talking points are facts.

One example can be found in a speech at Stanford University by former president Barack Obama on how he believes disinformation is weakening democracy. In particular, he talked about how Big Tech must prevent voter suppression that “has targeted black and brown communities.” But there is no evidence that supports that claim.

Black and brown voter participation reached record levels in the 2020 election. But even if he was talking about the 2022 elections, there is no support for such a claim. Perhaps he was talking about Georgia. So far, Georgia voters have turned out in record numbers across the state and may set a record for voter participation. One political commentator said that if these voter integrity laws were attempts at voter suppression and Jim Crow 2.0, they were doing a terrible job.

Let’s not confuse these two terms, and let’s not confuse opinions and interpretations with facts and raw data.viewpoints new web version

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