Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, explains:
Misinformation: Spreading false information (rumors, insults, and pranks).
Disinformation: The creation and distribution of intentionally false information, usually for political ends (scams, hoaxes, forgeries).
Infodemic: World Health Organization defines an infodemic as “an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”
“Misinformation, disinformation, delusions, and deceit can kill.”
“Only a few months ago, I would have settled for emphasizing that our democracy depends on facts and truth, and it surely does,” Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said at Harvard’s 2020 online graduation. “But now, as we can plainly see, it is more elemental than that. Facts and truth are matters of life and death.”
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
What caused the U.S.’ anti-science trend?
The dangers of social media curation
How voting misformation is spread
Using science to combat the techniques of ‘fake news'
'How America Lost Its Mind'
Can disinformation be stopped?
Data weaponized, data scrutinized: a war on information
Who killed truth?
Season one of “The Last Archive” by historian and author Jill Lepore, Harvard’s David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History, takes listeners on a journey through the last century, examining the evolution of standards of evidence, proof, and knowledge to parse out why notions of truth have become so slippery.
How textbooks taught white supremacy
“White supremacy is a toxin. The older history textbooks were like syringes that injected the toxin of white supremacy into the mind of many generations of Americans,” says historian Donald Yacovone, an associate at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.
ExxonMobil's climate disinformation campaign
Deceiving with the truth
The communications gap on vaccines
Fear-mongering and reckless accusations
Coke’s influence on China's health policy
Food for thought
The Hill, the swamp, and precursors to Trump
Learn to think scientifically
Mona Sue Weissmark, part-time associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences reflects on the best advice she got: “We must learn to live in doubt, yet act based on scientific thinking.”
Anecdotes aren’t data
“Too many leaders and influencers, including politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and academics, surrender to the cognitive bias of assessing the world through anecdotes and images rather than data and facts,” says Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology.
Consider the source
Navigate away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
Check the author
Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story.
Check the date
Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events.
Is it a joke?
If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure.
Check your biases
Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement.
Ask the experts
Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site.