Disinformation and misinformation

In a few words

Disinformation is intentionally spreading false or misleading information. Misinformation is incorrect information that is spread unintentionally or accidentally.

It is important to recognize which information is true and which is misinformation or even disinformation.

Examples for disinformation

manipulations: deep fakes, manipulated and fake photos, imitation websites

out of context: shortened quotes, incorrect statistics

fiction: lies, rumors, tendentious allegations

Examples for misinformation

clickbaiting: sensational headlines

satire, parody: exaggerated, humoristic presentation

hoax: accidental false report

Let’s dive deeper

The main difference between disinformation and misinformation lies in the intent behind its spread. Disinformation involves the intent to deceive while misinformation involves unintentional errors. One should always be aware that all types of information and content are spread online, including disinformation and misinformation. Even if there is a lot to be found on a topic, this does not necessarily mean that everything that is published corresponds to reality.

A major cause of the increasing spread of disinformation and misinformation is the rise of social media. These offer almost everyone the opportunity to distribute information on the Internet.

That’s why it’s important, for example, that if you want to be sure about a piece of information, you read through several sources on the topic and make sure to use sources that are as reputable as possible.

Useful links

Misinformation vs. disinformation

How to spot fake information

How to deal with fake news