Pop the disinformation bubble

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What is disinformation?

Misinformation and disinformation are both false, but disinformation has the intent to harm.

Misinformation is false information but the person conveying it believes it is true or is careless about whether or not it is true. It is also when content is misleading to frame an issue or person, or when a false connection is made like when a headline does not support the content.

 

Disinformation is false information but the person conveying it knows it is false. It is a deliberate act to lie by malicious actors. The content is fabricated or manipulated or delivered by an imposter. Or when true content is shared but in a false context.

What is disinformation?

Misinformation and disinformation are both false, but disinformation has the intent to harm.

Misinformation is false information but the person conveying it believes it is true or is careless about whether or not it is true. It is also when content is misleading to frame an issue or person, or when a false connection is made like when a headline does not support the content.

 

Disinformation is false information but the person conveying it knows it is false. It is a deliberate act to lie by malicious actors. The content is fabricated or manipulated or delivered by an imposter. Or when true content is shared but in a false context.

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How did we get here?

Pre-digital journalism was a pillar of democracy as the layered centralized checking of information to professional standards created quality news to keep citizens informed.

Currently, though, 70% of Americans get their news from social media and there are so many biased and unreliable media outlets. This means individuals must be their own gatekeepers of what is true. And intentionally misleading content undermines trust and even our sense of shared reality.

How did we get here?

Pre-digital journalism was a pillar of democracy as the layered centralized checking of information to professional standards created quality news to keep citizens informed. Currently, though, 70% of Americans get their news from social media and there are so many biased and unreliable media outlets. This means individuals must be their own gatekeepers of what is true. And intentionally misleading content undermines trust and even our sense of shared reality.

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How can anyone believe this stuff?

How can anyone believe this stuff?

The human brain has trouble determining if something is true. First, when we emotionally want something to be true, it is easy to believe it is true. And we have a cognitive bias where knowing just a little about a subject gives us the most confidence in our expertise. Therefore the people with the most confidence in expressing their beliefs are very emotionally invested and often know very little.

 

Add to this combination, malicious actors creating disinformation that is repeated and processed in our brains as being true. They know that if we hear something three times and are told it is false, we start to believe it is true just from repetition.

resources

References

UNESCO Journalism, 'Fake News' and Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education and Training
https://en.unesco.org/fightfakenews

Adfontes Media Bias Chart
https://www.adfontesmedia.com/

NPR story about Russia-backed targeting of left-leaning accounts against Biden/Harris
https://www.npr.org/2020/09/01/908386613/facebook-and-twitter-remove-russia-backed-accounts-targeting-left-leaning-voters

Washington Post article on super spreader accounts used by the far-right.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/30/trump-twitter-domestic-disinformation/

A study by EIP on how disinformation is spread using superspreaders.

https://www.eipartnership.net/rapid-response/repeat-offenders

CU Boulder study of who shares the most disinformation online.

https://www.colorado.edu/today/2020/06/17/who-shares-most-fake-news-new-study-sheds-light

"Trust" by Pete Buttigieg details the history of how Americans have become more distrustful and isolated.
https://bookshop.org/books/trust-america-s-best-chance-9781797119212/9781631498770?aid=38&listref=local-authors-4edac60e-515e-4b91-bd56-c91bb24bf10d

Easy to read behavioral psychology study "Making the truth stick & the myths fade: lessons from cognitive psychology" by Norbert Schwarz, Eryn Newman, & William Leach on how our brains process information.
https://behavioralpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/BSP_vol1is1_Schwarz.pdf

 

Spot the Troll quiz from Cornell University. This quiz is quite difficult and it teaches you how to spot trolls from the left and right.
https://spotthetroll.org/

An article in Psychology Today on the Dunning-Kruger effect and how it may affect Trump supporters.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201808/the-dunning-kruger-effect-may-help-explain-trumps-support

A thorough article on how the Trump campaign undermined trust in the election results.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-voter-trust/2020/12/20/00282aa6-407a-11eb-8db8-395dedaaa036_story.html?outputType=amp

How a human error in Michigan was seized upon by conspiracy theorists to spread disinformation of Dominion voting machines.

https://www.wkar.org/post/disinformation-agents-were-watching-and-waiting-exploit-error-antrim-countys

Article on the connection between QAnon and the wellness community.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/93wq73/conspirituality-explains-why-the-wellness-world-fell-for-qanon

New York Times podcast "Rabbit Hole" walks through one man's YouTube history to document how he descended into conspiracy theories, and what lead him back out.

https://www.nytimes.com/column/rabbit-hole 

NPR Morning Edition story of losing a parent to conspiracy:
https://www.npr.org/2021/04/13/986678544/exploring-youtube-and-the-spread-of-disinformation

From USA Today: What is radicalization? How to prevent it? And what to do if someone you love has been lost.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/01/14/capitol-riot-radicalization-what-know-de-radicalization-how-to-help/4160249001/