Misinformation, disinformation and hoaxes: What’s the difference?

By Michael J O'Brien and Izzat Alsmadi

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You don't have to go too far to find examples, just looking at the comment sections of any vaccine article here will let you find countless examples from certain users that will always copy-paste the same false arguments over and over again without any control.

covid is just a conspiracy and has no importance, mask make you sick, vaccines kill more people than the pandemic, maybe some video from known scam artists peddling their own cures or a gruesome example of some kid with problems that supposedly came from the vaccines, at this point just looking at some commenter profile will let you find any and all kinds of disinformation and hoaxes.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

What's the similarity? They are the bread and butter of media outlets like Fox, OAN and Sinclair, and a mainstay of the GOP keeping its base "informed".

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

All 3 can be found in the comments sections on many an article here.

This is not representative of JT, rather a small (but determined, repetitive and vocal) demographic within the demographic.

I had encountered a few malicious lies, rumours and falsehoods in a previous job - often spread by emails that had come from outside the company, or from a "friend of a friend" etc. They were quite harmful, in as far as promoting baseless lies, and the gullible falling for them. And that was quite some years ago.

But, as the article points out, such things are very old. The problem today, is it goes viral and so many people are willing to accept the falsehoods as truth. And with the current situation, so many people are not using critical faculties and the fall from merely curious to full on conspiracy theorist can be rapid.

There's nothing malicious in questioning narratives, governments etc. But when it turns into an almost evangelical belief system, where everyone else is the "sheeple" and only you have the truth because of a few YouTube videos... well, we've seen what happens.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I see it here in the comments all the time. And we have been guity of doing it by mistyping or reading something to find out only later it was false and wish to apologize.

It would help if JT allowed for us to delete our own comments. That would be a plus to fix things.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes, misinformation & disinformation are all over the Net like spots on a Naniwa lady’s leopard print blouse


Totally agree. I certainly don’t want to spread disinformation — either intentionally or unintentionally. And after proofing my own posts, I often find my typos just after pressing “Post.” It would be nice to be able to edit and/or delete and repost.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Gwylly

I think we’ve all been guilty of typographic or grammatical errors in our posts here.

When I make such an error, I always think I should have proofread the message more carefully before hitting the ‘Post’ button. At least reading once through a post before pressing the ‘Post’ button helps a person to overcome this.

However, there are a certain number of people here who just like promoting disinformation. They get banned from the site and come back here under new usernames year after year. They usually ‘sing the same old song,’ but claim that they aren’t the same person that appeared here before. They make wild claims and take radically different positions between posts.

I don’t know why they do it.

It’s pathological, I guess.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It’s all only virtual, has absolutely nothing to do with real life. Why does everyone take those bits and bytes all for real? The only necessary informations are in real life situations, not in the internet or media. If there’s a real plate with bread, butter and sausage in front of my eyes, clothes on me, toilet paper available and the ATM just really gave me some small but touchable money bills....all such are informations. The whole rest is imaginary or luxury, you won’t live or die with or without those pseudo informations. A double amount of them as well as completely omitting them changes just nothing. Did my comment change anything? No. But if you today run out of toilet paper or your plate is empty, that will definitely change a lot in you and your environment.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@sven: We like your words. Relax this evening and watch Yoshida Rui on BS 6 at 9pm

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now I’m sure it’s pathological.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

expatApr. 26 12:09 pm JST

What's the similarity? They are the bread and butter of media outlets like Fox, OAN and Sinclair, and a mainstay of the GOP keeping its base "informed".

Here is the perfect example of what this article is talking about.  According to expat, evidently only the conservative outlets, Fox etc., is spreading misinformation. No mention, of course, that CNN and MSNBC do the same to keep their base “informed”. Wake up, all sides do this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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