What is fake news: Understanding information disorder

Misinformation is rampant online, but how can journalists and the public identify and understand it? Experts recommend using precise terms like propaganda and lies rather than the vague “fake news,” categorizing types between disinformation, misinformation and malinformation, and being aware of techniques from clickbait to deepfakes. A guide from First Draft News breaks down best practices around terminology, classification, and vigilance against both outside disinformation efforts and internal editorial sloppiness. With complex factors at play, precision with language matters. Defining the specifics of information disorder helps journalists explain the issues at stake and effectively counter falsehoods.

  • Use specific terms like propaganda, lies, conspiracies, rumors, etc. rather than the vague “fake news” which has become meaningless.
  • Categorize types of misinformation as disinformation (intentionally false), misinformation (false but not intended to harm), and malinformation (genuine info shared to cause harm).
  • Be aware of various techniques like satire, clickbait, false context, imposter content, manipulated media, and fabricated content.
  • Satire when taken out of context can spread misinfo. Clickbait erodes trust. Genuine content can be reframed deceptively. Logos are used to give credibility. Images and videos can be altered. Wholly fabricated content spreads falsehoods.
  • Deepfakes using AI will be a growing challenge. News organizations should maintain high standards and not contribute to information pollution.
  • Definitions, categorization and using specific terms matters. Information disorder is complex with many elements so be as precise as possible when identifying and explaining different types.
  • For journalism students covering this topic, focusing on best practices around terminology, categorization, specific techniques used, and maintaining high editorial standards will help them explain it clearly.

Text generated by Claude.AI for class experiment.