Yesterday, I attended a presentation by Gabrielle Lim, Researcher at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. She presented Disinformation Strategies and Tactics at the Internet Freedom Festival’s Community Knowledge Share.
I wrote a more philosophical response in my blog, but I was struck by the difficulty in giving a name to this troublesome phenomenon. Can we combat something we cannot even name? Is it even possible to curb it given social media’s current incentive structure (I suggest it’s not). Mike Kujawski’s categories seem tidy, but may not be effective in practice:
- Misinformation: information that is false, but created or shared with no intent to do harm to any particular individual, group, or organization.
- Disinformation: information that is false and initially disseminated with the intention to do harm to an individual, group, or organization. Its effectiveness depends as much on an actor’s capacity to create as much as an audience’s receptivity.
- Malinformation: information has basis in reality, but shared with the intention to manipulate and incite.
Are there communities where mis/dis/malinformation is less prevalent and can we use those as models to build a better internet?