Completion Date: 06 December 2018
Medium: Paint & ink on cardboard
Dimensions: 16 X 20 inches
The storm of false information that never stopped throughout 2018 has led Dictionary.com to name “misinformation” its annual “Word of the Year.”
While the word has been around since the late 1500s, it made a huge comeback this year as the amount of false information on the internet expanded.
Since it’s an online dictionary, the website felt the need to explain the concept of the word, as it’s often confused with “disinformation.” The words are not interchangeable, the site explained in a report published Monday, and it’s important for people to be able to differentiate between the two.
Disinformation means “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda.
Misinformation means “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.”
“When people spread misinformation, they often believe the information they are sharing. In contrast, disinformation is crafted and disseminated with the intent to mislead others,” the report said, adding that being able to identify misinformation is crucial, because a piece of disinformation could become misinformation.
“When an individual sees this disinformation, believes it, and then shares it, that’s misinformation,” the report said.
Social media, and the ability millions of people have to share any information, has played a big role in delivering misinformation. Although not all misinformation is tied directly to politics, it’s one of the most sensitive areas, the report says.
One of the examples Dictionary.com gave was the abundance of fake political ads that ran across Facebook, as well the ban of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones across multiple platforms, like Twitter, YouTube and Apple. The President of the United States has also shared misinformation on social media.
“In early November, fact-checkers from the Washington Post shared their record of all the false or misleading claims President Trump has made since becoming president,” Dictionary.com said. “As of the time of that report, the count was at 6,420, an average of about 10 false or misleading claims a day. These claims are heard around the world and believed by many.”