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"

The difficulty of moderating the ocean of content that gets posted on social networks by billions of users every day was obvious even before former President Donald Trump’s trolling forced Facebook and other platforms to block his accounts earlier this year. Differentiating genuine harassment or abuse from friendly banter, identifying harmful images and videos from […]

There was no reason to think Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure wouldn’t come through. Hannah-Jones, an acclaimed journalist, was recruited for a tenured Knight chair in race and investigative journalism in the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, a position designed to bring professionals to campus. With 20 years of newsroom experience, a […]

Growing popular and industry interest in high-performing natural language generation models has led to concerns that such models could be used to generate automated disinformation at scale. This report examines the capabilities of GPT-3–a cutting-edge AI system that writes text–to analyze its potential misuse for disinformation. A model like GPT-3 may be able to help […]

Having scored only limited success in their anti-Western disinformation campaign in Georgia, Russian propaganda outlets are now attempting to fuel hostile attitudes between Tbilisi and Ankara with newly invented arguments. The so-called Second Nagorno-Karabakh War conducted between Armenia and Azerbaijan last year has given Russia a strategic opportunity to increase its presence in the South […]

This workshop starts from the premise that the problem of online misinformation is a symptom, not a cause. While undeniably problematic, misinformation is the current cause célèbre of a larger class of pathological dynamics that have emerged in our evolving digital media ecosystems and cause harm at different systemic levels. These dynamics are exacerbated by […]

Featured Scholars

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