Skip to Main Content

Misinformation in the Modern Age

Algorithms: A procedure or set of rules used in calculation and problem-solving; a precisely defined set of mathematical or logical operations for the performance of a particular task. (OED Online)

Artificial Intelligence: the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience. (Britannica Academic) 

Clickbait: Attention-grabbing headlines in social media. A marketing technique designed to attract click-throughs and shares. (Oxford Reference Online)

Cognitive Dissonance: Cognitive dissonance, the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. (Britannica Academic)

Confirmation Bias:  tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information. (Britannica Academic)

Conspiracy Theory: a hypothesis that attributes a specific event or phenomenon to some form of secret activity or plot, one usually orchestrated by powerful entities or individuals. Conspiracy theories typically emerge when available facts fail to offer a thorough or satisfactory explanation of a particular set of circumstances. (Gale eBooks)

Deep Fake (Deepfake): an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said. (

Digital Divide: the gulf between those who have ready access to current digital technology (esp. computers and the internet) and those who do not; (also) social or educational inequality resulting from this. (OED Online)

Digital Redlining: is the practice of creating and perpetuating inequities between already marginalized groups specifically through the use of digital technologies, digital content, and the internet. (Wikipedia)

Disinformation: A form of propaganda involving the dissemination of false information with the deliberate intent to deceive or mislead. (Oxford Reference)

Fake News: a kind of disinformation produced by for-profit Web sites posing as legitimate news organizations and designed to attract (and mislead) certain readers by exploiting entrenched partisan biases. (Britannica Academic)

Filter Bubble: An environment, and especially an online environment, in which people are exposed only to opinions and information that conform to their existing beliefs (

Gaslighting: is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. (Wikipedia)

Illusory Truth Effect:  The illusory truth effect (also known as the illusion of truth effect, validity effect, truth effect, or the reiteration effect) is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure. (Wikipedia)

Influencer: is someone who has: a) the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience; b) a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche. ("What is an Influencer")

Infodemic: an overabundance of information, both online and offline. It includes deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information to undermine the public health response and advance alternative agendas of groups or individuals. (World Health Organization)

Information: “Data which has been recorded, classified, organized, related, or interpreted within a framework so that meaning emerges” (Information 2003). (Gale eBooks)

Information Literacy: The ability to find, evaluate, and use information efficiently, effectively, and ethically to answer an information need. (Gale eBooks)

Media Bias: the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of many events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. (Wikipedia)

Microagression: is defined as a commonplace verbal and nonverbal slight that communicates a denigrating or demeaning message to people of color based on their racial group membership. (Gale eBooks)

Misinformation: Wrong or misleading information. (OED Online)

Occam's Razor: The principle claims that to explain something, all competing explanations should be “shaved” away until only the simplest remains. (Gale eBooks)

Prevaricate: To deviate from the truth; a false and deliberate misstatement; equivocate. (,

Parody: Parody, in literature, an imitation of the style and manner of a particular writer or school of writers. Parody is typically negative in intent: it calls attention to a writer’s perceived weaknesses or a school’s overused conventions and seeks to ridicule them. (Britannica Academic
Parody, a form of speech protected by the First Amendment as a “distorted imitation” of an original work for the purpose of commenting on it. A means to express political and social views...Some forms of parody and satire are difficult to distinguish from truthful publications. (Gale eBooks)

Propaganda: dissemination of information—facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies—to influence public opinion. The more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols (words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth). (Britannica Academic

Racelighting: refers to the process whereby people of color question their own thoughts and actions due to systematically delivered racialized messages that make them second guess their own lived experiences with racism. It represents a unique type of gaslighting experienced in the daily, normalized realities of black, Indigenous, and people of color. (Urban Dictionary)

Satire: Satire, artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform. (Britannica Academic)  

Scientific Method: consists of indiscriminate observations of regularities, gathering information on repeatable phenomena, and using it as a sound basis for theorizing. (Gale eBooks)

Shadowban: To ban a discussion board user without their knowledge, allowing them to continue reading and commenting, but rendering their comments invisible to other users. (Wikitionary) "'Shadowban' Emerges from the Dark" (Article from

Synthetic Media: (also known as AI-generated mediagenerative mediapersonalized media, and colloquially as deepfakes) is a catch-all term for the artificial production, manipulation, and modification of data and media by automated means, especially through the use of artificial intelligence algorithms, such as for the purpose of misleading people or changing an original meaning. (Wikipedia)