Online misinformation is disseminated on a variety of topics by different actors of different motivations, through various means. Using the dimensions of harm and falsity, a report commissioned by the European Commission differentiated between three types of problematic information:
- Misinformation is false information that is often shared unintentionally.
- Disinformation is false information that is shared with the deliberate intent to mislead as part of a manipulation campaign or information operation.
- Mal-information is genuine information that is shared to cause harm, including private or revealing information that is spread to harm a person or reputation.
However, it is not always possible to determine intention, making the distinction between misinformation and disinformation somewhat problematic in a legal context. Disinformation also evokes notions of state-led dark operations, which is perhaps an artifact of its origins in the Russian KGB’s dezinformatsiya operations. Therefore, the term misinformation as inclusive of disinformation is favored in this report.
This report was developed through an Expert Round Table discussion on “Tackling online misinformation while protecting freedom of expression” held on the 11th of October 2021, as the second of a series of discussions under the theme of “Frontiers of Digital Economy”
The “Frontiers of Digital Economy” series is supported and sponsored by Facebook.Download PDF Email