New terms for the misinformation trade
The language surrounding misinformation seems to change as fast as the tactics used by the people who spread it. Terms that once meant one thing — “fake news,” for example — now mean something else, or are used so differently by different people that they have lost a common meaning.
For people like us, who write about misinformation as a profession, it’s a little hard to keep up.
(Dictionary.com, by the way, defines misinformation — its 2018 word of the year — as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” The word often works for us in this newsletter as a catchall because we can’t always be certain something is intended to mislead. If we are sure it’s “disinformation,” though, we will call it that.)
Another example of an ambiguous, evolving term is “troll” or “trolling.” In her report last year for Data & Society, “The Oxygen of Amplification,” Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communications and rhetoric at Syracuse University, noted that “trolling” now encompasses a broad range of online behaviors, “rendering the term so slippery it has become almost meaningless.”
Fortunately, several experts in this space are trying to keep up with the changes and sort out the terminology.
Claire Wardle, the U.S. director of First Draft, a nonprofit focused on ways to address misinformation, last year published a helpful glossary of frequently used — and commonly misunderstood — words and phrases. An earlier Data &
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2019/here-are-4-new-terms-to-describe-online-deception-and-misinformation/