2020 has revealed that even trusted news sources are capable of spreading mis and disinformation. It is not obvious what the difference between the two is. Misinformation is what it sounds like and is unintentional, whereas disinformation is deliberately inaccurate information intended to deceive.
A global pandemic has triggered a massive spread of information on broadcast television and various digital and social platforms. According to the International Press Institute (IPI), Hungarian MP’s have passed a law that penalises the spread of misinformation of COVID-19 to up to five years in prison. IPI’s data shows that many central and eastern European governments have been using the health crisis as an excuse to tighten control over information, which is another issue. We are constantly receiving threads of messages from sources such as friends, family, co-workers and social media, which are now more widely used ways to get information.
Let’s not forget about a 26-minute video called Plandemic, that spread debunked theories and unproven claims about COVID-19 like wildfire around the internet. Large platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo had to remove it and now it can not be easily found and shared online. Thanks to the spread of this video, many people believe that the use of masks could cause a person to contract the virus.
It’s up to us as social media users to be skeptical about articles and videos from unfamiliar sources.
Here a few things Decoding Disinformation wishes to answer:
- Which information is coming from where?
- How can I find out if I’m being shared dis or misinformation/what is the difference?
- Where can I acquire my information?
- How can I do fact-checking myself?
Decoding disinformation is here to make your life as a receiver of information a little less challenging and overwhelming. By providing you with tools, resources and an online community, you will be a gatekeeper and fact-checker in no time.