Misinformation, Disinformation, and Bias

Identifying misinformation, its various types, and both personal and news media biases

Misinformation vs. Disinformation

While often used interchangeably, misinformation and disinformation are two different things. 

  • Misinformation is defined as "incorrect or misleading information" (Merriam-Webster). 
  • Disinformation is defined as "false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure truth" (Merriam-Webster). 

The main difference between the two is that disinformation is created and shared deliberately with the purpose to deceive, while misinformation is generally shared due to a lack of fact-checking.

The Five Types of Misinformation

According to the News Literacy Project (NLP) there are Five Types of Misinformation. PDF version.

Examples of the Five Types of Misinformation

Satire

Satire often takes the form of news websites parodying current events. Examples include:

Satirical news can also be viewed on late night television. Popular programs are:

False Context

Imposter Content

Manipulated Content

Fabricated Content

These are just a handful of examples. To explore further, check out the Media Manipulation Casebook and the News Literacy Project's Viral Rumor Rundown. Both websites explore various instances of mis- and disinformation spreading over the internet. 

Acknowledgement

The "Misinformation, Disinformation, and Bias" LibGuide was created and developed by University of Texas iSchool student, Kathryn Senn, in Spring 2022 as part of her Capstone Project.

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