From Michael J. O’Brien and Izzat Alsmadi, writing for The Conversation…
Sorting through the vast amount of information created and shared online is challenging, even for the experts.
Just talking about this ever-shifting landscape is confusing, with terms like “misinformation,” “disinformation” and “hoax” getting mixed up with buzzwords like “fake news.”
Misinformation is perhaps the most innocent of the terms – it’s misleading information created or shared without the intent to manipulate people. An example would be sharing a rumor that a celebrity died, before finding out it’s false.
Disinformation, by contrast, refers to deliberate attempts to confuse or manipulate people with dishonest information. These campaigns, at times orchestrated by groups outside the U.S., such as the Internet Research Agency, a well-known Russian troll factory, can be coordinated across multiple social media accounts and may also use automated systems, called bots, to post and share information online. Disinformation can turn into misinformation when spread by unwitting readers who believe the material.
Hoaxes, similar to disinformation, are created to persuade people that things that are unsupported by facts are true. For example, the person responsible for the celebrity-death story has created a hoax.
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