The Word of the Year Is… Misinformation
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It’s that time of year when various publications decide their “…” of the year. And in the case of dictionaries it’s the word of the year. Dictionary.com has decided that its word of the year for 2018 is “misinformation”. Which, ironically, isn’t misinformation.

When Disinformation Becomes Misinformation

Misinformation is a word that, according to Dictionary.com, has been around since the 1500s. However, its use has spread in recent years thanks to the spread of misinformation being disseminated via biased news sources Top 5 Unbiased World News Sources Free From Censorship Top 5 Unbiased World News Sources Free From Censorship Unbiased news sources are rare, but they do exist. We've compiled a list of the best news websites that are free from censorship. Read More and social media users.

Dictionary.com defines misinformation as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” Which separates it from disinformation, which is described as “deliberately misleading or biased information”.

While disinformation is the source of a lot of issues we’re now seeing in society, misinformation is making things worse. And this is mainly because social media users share things without checking the veracity of the information first.

This blind spreading of misinformation has had some real-life consequences. Elections have been influenced by people believing what they read. People’s health has been affected by scare stories. And individuals have been targeted over rumors started online.

This is why Dictionary.com has chosen misinformation as its word of the year. And why we all, each and every one of us, needs to do better in this area. It doesn’t take long to check facts before reposting, retweeting, or sharing something you want to be true.

How to Stop the Spread of Misinformation

Dictionary.com’s runners-up include “representation,” as in the representation of ethnic minorities, “self-made,” as in Kendal Jenner being a self-made billionaire, and “backlash,” as in the celebrity of the day experiencing a backlash over something they said.

In terms of misinformation it’s up to us to plot its downfall. Which unfortunately requires a little homework. First, teach yourself how to spot fake news What Is Fake News and How Does It Spread So Quickly? What Is Fake News and How Does It Spread So Quickly? Fake news is plaguing the internet and the worst part is that most people can't recognize it when they see it. Read More . Next, bookmark these unbiased fact-checking websites The 8 Best Fact-Checking Sites for Finding Unbiased Truth The 8 Best Fact-Checking Sites for Finding Unbiased Truth This is the age of misinformation and fake news. Here are the best unbiased fact-checking sites so that you can find the truth. Read More . And finally, learn to trust your instincts!

Image Credit: John Davey/Flickr

Explore more about: Dictionary, Fake News.

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  1. dragonmouth
    November 28, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Everybody has their own interpretation of facts. If you do not agree with my interpretation, you must be misinformed. :-)