Daily Archives: 2021-04-23

Misinformation and disinformation: what’s in it for spreaders?

Since my colleague Eva and I started our project on anti-vaccination movements, reading about the topic has often led us to academic and media articles on misinformation or disinformation. The distinction between the two is not always clear, but it is based on intent. Disinformation is defined as intentional efforts to mislead people in order to sow distrust and chaos. And just like the general population was flooded with public health terminology (R number, exponential curve and so on) after the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, our readers, too are increasingly introduced to the typology of misleading claims on various fact-checking websites, social networks, and the media. Eva and I are working on more podcast episodes to explain these distinctions.

You can find some useful resources from First Draft here and here. It is important to note that misinformation and disinformation make use of real facts, but frame them to guide their audience towards misleading conclusions. In data visualisation, using a truncated Y axis is an example of a manipulation that can lead people to misinterpret correct data. Continue reading