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"Fake News," Misinformation & Disinformation

How to identify (and avoid) false information.

7 types of mis-and disinformation

The image below from Understanding Information Disorder is helpful for thinking about the ecosystem of misinformation and disinformation which can be organized into seven types that exist on a spectrum -- one that loosely measures intent to deceive and harm.

As scholar Claire Wardle points out, "it's complicated."


7 types of mis-and disinformation


Satire or parody = No intention to cause harm but has potential to fool.

False connection = When headlines, visuals or captions don't support the content.

Misleading content = Misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual. 

False context = When genuine content is shared with false contextual information.

Imposter content = When genuine sources are impersonated.

Manipulated content = When genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive.

Fabricated content = New content that is 100% false, made to deceive and do harm.