Defining “Disinformation”

What are dis- and misinformation? What about propaganda and “fake news?” How are researchers and activists defining these terms, and how are those definitions evolving? This introductory literature review addresses both contemporary and historical examples of disinformation and misinformation in mass media, and discusses the importance of a unified set of definitions in the social sciences. 

Live Research Review

What are dis- and misinformation? What about propaganda and “fake news?” How are researchers and activists defining these terms, and how are those definitions evolving? This introductory research review discusses the importance of a unified set of definitions in the social sciences.

Teaching & Learning

Explore course modules, handouts, teaching tools and syllabi about dis- and misinformation.

Latest News on Defining "Disinformation"

When you think of visual misinformation, maybe you think of deepfakes — videos that appear real but have actually been created using powerful video editing algorithms. The creators edit celebrities into pornographic movies, and they can put words into the mouths of people who never said them. But the majority of visual misinformation that people […]

The widespread adoption of digital media and information technologies made it exponentially easier and faster to produce, disseminate, and be exposed to false, manipulated, and sometimes hateful content. Still, misinformation is a complex, largely misunderstood phenomenon. The public, the media, and policy makers are in need of reliable, unbiased research on the prevalence, diffusion, and […]

As always, this year’s word of the year candidates came from all over. There were the viral memes like “OK, boomer” and “weird flex, but OK,” but they won’t endure any longer than earlier years’ candidates like FOMO and “manbun.” “Quid pro quo” had a moment, but the jury’s still out on that one. And […]

The American news landscape has been infiltrated by disinformation, according to a new poll for CJR by Reuters/Ipsos, and a clear majority of Americans think it will only get worse in 2020. This public opinion poll was conducted online by Reuters/Ipsos between September 20 and 23, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses […]

The University of Washington Information School seeks a truly outstanding scholar to broaden and deepen our research and scholarship in areas including, but not limited to: studies of misinformation and disinformation, including computational, mixed-methods approaches, etc.; information access and data literacy; information flow in sociotechnical systems; the role of information in the formation and dynamics […]

Featured Scholars

Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Colorado State University
Harvard Kennedy School, Technology and Social Change Research Project