Misinformation v. Disinformation: what is the difference?

According to Dictionary.com, misinformation is "false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead.”  If you are spreading around information that is wrong but you don’t know it is wrong, then you are spreading misinformation.

Disinformation means “false information". It is also used more generally to mean “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda. Disinformation is knowingly spreading misinformation.

What is Fake News?

"Fake news" is defined, in the modern sense, as deliberately publishing hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation while purporting to be "real" news. In modern times, this often involves using social media to drive web traffic and expand the impact of the fake news. Fake news websites and articles seek to intentionally mislead readers for financial, political, or other gain. 

The term "fake news," also referred to as "hoax news," has exploded in the last year or two, but it's not actually a new concept in the United States or in our history of newspapers and media.


One of the most interesting videos (4:55 mins) we have seen on the subject, illustrates ways to spot a fake news story, with examples. Though it only provides a couple of examples of credible sources that may lean politically to one side, consider other sources that would round out the list. We’ll talk about that more in class.

What is Confirmation Bias?

"Confirmation bias" as defined by Britannica.com  is the "the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. This biased  approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant.is a type of selective thinking or researching and the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.