You may have been using the word ‘misinformation’ a lot ever since the internet became trampled with fake news and false propaganda. But did you know that not every fake news is a form of misinformation?

A similar term can also be attributed to fake news. It’s called ‘disinformation’.

Misinformation vs. Disinformation

Both misinformation and disinformation are harmful. They obscure the truth from the receiver of the information, which can lead to bad things. However, similar as they may seem, they have major differences.

Misinformation is defined as “false information spread with or without an intent to mislead.” Disinformation is false information spread with an intent to mislead. The latter is a deliberate act of falsehood, manipulating the narrative to influence other’s opinions.

There have been misleading claims around methods against COVID-19, such as drinking lemon with water, or self-testing for coronavirus by holding your breath for 10 seconds. These are unproven ways of preventing the disease circulating around social media, and instead of helping people, they may even make the situation worse.

These are examples of misinformation. Generally, people share these advices under the belief that they are safe and effective preventive measures against the coronavirus disease. They have no intention to lie. As a matter of fact, they might be concerned about their families or friends, hence their spreading of the message. The receiving end of the information flow will then be misinformed.

Now, let’s say someone invented a statement and attributed it to a famous celebrity. They created a quote card and posted it on the internet for people to see that this big star is in awe of how the Philippine president is handling the pandemic in the country. It’s clear that behind the message is an intent to lie to a certain group of people. This is an example of disinformation.

Falso information is another virus

As the world remains on pause due to worsening COVID-19 situation, all social and economic activities are still called off. The general public is trapped in their houses. Basically, our smart phones are our key connection to the outside world.

Misinformation and disinformation have existed way before the digital age. But now, with people spending much of their abundant free time on social media and their minds almost revolving around what they see on it, they are susceptible to false propaganda more than ever.

This is why it cannot be stressed enough to think before you click. Not everything you see on the internet is true. In a world where people depend on information much more than they did in the past, it is our duty to fact check first before hitting that share button.

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