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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DISINFORMATION

Not sure why this issue is so important? Read below!

What is disinformation?

It’s false information that is purposely distributed in order to mislead or confuse you and the rest of the population. While it can regularly come up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds, or be passed on to you by people you know on WhatsApp, it can also be on your television or radio. It’s what people generally like to call “fake news”, even though “disinformation” is the correct term to use.

Is disinformation a new phenomenon?

It’s not! Actually, disinformation has been used for decades, if not hundreds of years, by people (political parties and other organizations) in order to control sectors of the population and how they think. However, the rise of social media has made disinformation a lot more widespread and effective, creating a much stronger impact on our societies and leading us to a time of information warfare.

Why should I care about the impact of disinformation?

Today, all of us around the world are vulnerable to this phenomenon and many of us are unaware that much of the information we keep consuming is false or misleading. Regular users are easily weaponized by agents of disinformation to help them spread harmful content designed to manipulate public opinion at a massive scale. Since these false facts have the power to reshape our world views, it is very important to raise awareness about this issue which, along with climate change, is one of the biggest threats we’re all currently facing.      

Isn’t that a little too much?

No, it’s not. Also, if you just came to the FAQ section and decided to start with this question, then this answer makes no sense so start from the beginning.

Anyway, look around you. Democracy is retreating. Authoritarianism is on the rise. Facts have become opinion. Oh, and a large number of people seem to think the Earth is flat.

I believe the Earth is flat.

Then you and I need to have a talk.

How can we fight disinformation?

Right now, government and fact checking organizations, the media and tech companies are coming up with tools that seek to slow it down. And while some of them are certainly making a difference, this is not enough as many people simply don’t know that this is happening. Unless we focus on raising awareness and improving digital literacy in society, legislation and fact-checking will not be enough.

We need to make people care about this issue.

Through my work, my goal is to help everyone understand what’s happening and how to fight together to achieve digital resilience. We need to know how to evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness of information. Together we can make the world a better place.

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