Definition[edit | edit source]

Misinformation is

"incorrect or inaccurate information, regardless of its origin or the intent of the individual who disseminates it."[1]
"unintentionally false information. Examples include unfounded conspiracy theories, rumors, and web hoaxes spread through social media by users believing them to be true."[2]

Overview[edit | edit source]

'Misinformation may be the result of laypersons’ misinterpretations of scientific material. In some cases, misinformation results from theoretical preliminary scientific research being interpreted as accepted fact. In other cases, the scientific material may be well-researched and documented, but later proven to rely on faulty premises. Major news outlets and governmental sources sometimes unintentionally spread misinformation by reporting on rapidly changing events. While the reporting itself may be caveated as unconfirmed, the information contained therein may then be widely disseminated by well-intended users and platforms. Though unintentional, misinformation can have the effect of exacerbating societal divisions and creating chaos, as the truth becomes more difficult to discern.[3]

"Misinformation can spread when journalists misinterpret or fail to independently verify a source's claims. This is especially likely to occur during an unfolding crisis. News organizations have a duty to keep people informed, especially when public safety may be at risk. However, they also compete for the public's attention. This gives them an incentive to publish [information]] quickly, to 'scoop' competing news outlets."[4]

References[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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