In brief: Misinformation

Few problems with our information environment are more pressing or prominent than the proliferation of misinformation online. False and misleading content is often designed to target our emotions and exploit our most deeply held beliefs and values to bypass our critical, rational thought processes.

But thinking and learning about misinformation can be challenging. Partisans lob strategic accusations of “fake news” at ideas they disagree with. Social media platforms often fail to enforce their own policies against misinformation. Bad actors create and purposefully amplify disinformation for many reasons, political or financial gain or to simply to cause social division.

This infographic helps you get your bearings in the misinformation landscape. Why do people share misinformation? What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation? What are some of the different types of misinformation people regularly encounter online? What are some “red flag” phrases and other signs of dubious content that can help people recognize when to remain skeptical and proceed with caution? Misinformation changes rapidly, attaching itself to current events and issues that that are part of the national conversation. However, many of the strategies remain the same and can become recognizable with practice.

Click here to download the infographic (PDF).