Welcome to Novel Science, a science communication project devoted to studying efforts to influence or manipulate the public via social and traditional media.

We like to talk about mis- and disinformation.

If you’re not sure what the difference between those two words is, you soon will.

Actually, you’re going to learn a third word, too. Malinformation.

The infographic

Now that you’re an expert on the three key terms. Here’s a little blurb on the subject from USAID:

Disinformation, or information that is shared with the intent to mislead people, is increasingly a global phenomenon. It has become more prevalent with the rise of social media and the digital economy and a lack of digital and media literacy among consumers of online media.

Disinformation is often used as a catch-all term for all false information, but it is distinguished from misinformation by its purposeful intent to deceive.

Misinformation, on the other hand, is false information spread by someone who believes false information to be true. The impact of disinformation and misinformation can be the same. Whether false information is shared intentionally or not, it is still dangerous.

Malinformation is a deliberate publication of private information for personal or private interest, as well as the deliberate manipulation of genuine content. This is often done by moving private or revealing information about an individual, taken out of context, into the public sphere.

If you’d like to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter and check out the disinformation database. 

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