Misinformation is wrong, while disinformation actively seeks to harm, mislead, disrupt, or confuse.
Misinformation gets spread for various reasons. Often, people share what seems like helpful information with good intentions.
Both misinformation or disinformation can have harmful consequences, but disinformation is often uniquely used as a tool of abuse.
Disinformation has been used by domestic militias and hate groups to target minorities and promote fake Covid-19 cures.
Disinformation from abroad increasingly targets foreign elections, including the United States general election in 2016.
Disinformation supported slavery through pseudoscience, and is essential in efforts to promote genocide.
Citizenship provides both rights and responsibilities, which you can practice to maintain safety and dignity for yourself and others online.
As digital platforms integrate into more of daily life, new challenges emerge. Making good digital citizenship decisions is easier when we understand a bit about human thinking patterns, and the digital world.
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It is intellectually challenging to hold and evaluate opposing viewpoints, and it’s emotionally comforting to see things that confirm what I already know (because I'm smart.) It is natural for people to place more value on information that is consistent with their existing beliefs. That is confirmation bias.
Social media wants your time and engagement, and their algorithms know how to get it: by filtering out content you don't like. This puts you in a filter bubble, where you do not even need to avoid information you don't like because you don't get exposed to it.
Confirmation bias is natural, but filter bubbles are created by design to get your attention. Unintentionally, though, these can confirm and reinforce biases even more.
One key to good digital citizenship is getting out of your filter bubble and actively seeking alternate, even uncomfortable perspectives.