Media misinformation and disinformation

Marina Medhat, Egypt

Media misinformation and disinformation is a major worldwide problem, as media plays a big role everyday in our lives. Everyone uses media for different purposes. In today’s society, it’s hard to tell what’s true and what’s fake!, and we have seen more and more people fall victim to media – induced confusion, believing all kinds of fake stories which leads to unnecessary drama. Thus, differentiating between misinformation and disinformation is the first step in freeing yourself from fake information. Misinformation means “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead”, while disinformation applies to “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda.”

         Social media made the whole world and people in it connected to each other, it’s easy to use, low cost and it’s the fastest way to spread the news. It’s also a double aged sword, because it enables the wide spread of real and fake news. Before we talk about this issue, we should ask a very important question: “why fake news?”. Fake news was named the word of the year in 2017 by the Collins dictionary. In 2017, the usage of the term had increased by 365% since 2016 (Collins dictionary, 2017). Fake news always cause propaganda and that is the main reason of its existence. Some researchers have called it information pollution (Wardle and Hossain, 2017).

         Media disinformation reshaped people’s attitudes, it’s a part of political role to affect some countries to change the way they think or behave for a specific purpose. It damages a big part of democracy by manipulating people’s minds and hiding the truth that some politicians or powerful people don’t want to be known.

        And if we talk about the new generation, we will find a lot of media issues affecting their lives; for instance, the influencers and bloggers on the media who make contents about anything without supervision from the Internet and teach teens wrong attitude and more than that. Games and challenges also became something parents need to be worried about, games were supposed to be fun and entertaining but nowadays they can be harmful. We heard of The Blue Whale challenge and a lot of people, especially teens, got involved with, a challenge game that eventually induced some people to end their lives!

      In the end, Media misinformation is a fact and it’s our responsibility to take care where the news come from and who do we trust. Also, adults, parents especially, should be aware and never leave their kids without supervision.