The terms misinformation and disinformation are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. The real difference comes down to intent. According to the Associated Press, “misinformation refers to false information shared about a particular topic that could be mistaken as truth. It can include honest mistakes, exaggerations and misunderstandings of facts as well as disinformation, which refers to misinformation created and spread intentionally as a way to mislead or confuse.” Social media is not responsible for all the disinformation in today’s world, but it has played and continues to play a large role in spreading it. As social media becomes a go-to news source for many, it’s more important than ever for reliable news sources – including members of the Pittsburgh Media Partnership – to provide accurate news that readers and listeners can trust and depend upon.
The Partnership has embarked on a project to examine how misinformation and disinformation is being used to influence Western Pennsylvania residents and how some of those residents have taken it upon themselves to shine a light on the falsehoods – whether intentional or unintentional – and present the facts to help their communities know the truth.