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“I am perfectly fine….” athlete Haile G/sellasie

Both false information and disinformation are fundamentally inaccurate information. The actors who share the content, however, have very different reasons for doing so. Sometimes the term “misinformation” refers to a “honest mistake,” such as when an error appears in an article produced by a media outlet with a solid reputation and spreads through natural channels. Contrarily, disinformation is spread strategically and is intentionally incorrect. It is purposefully meant to mislead or influence the target audience to believe a lie. Information warfare uses the tactic of disinformation. Back in 2014, I became very interested in how the anti-vaccine movement and other pseudoscience conspiracies were spreading on social media, especially how the truther movements’ asymmetrical zeal led them to produce a ton of false content that social platforms then algorithmically amplified. I observed how fake accounts and bots were gradually added to amplify these messages. At about the same time, violent extremists started to use social media to promote terrorism in a similar manner. I came to the conclusion that the issue was that the social ecosystem’s inherent characteristics allowed for systemic manipulation, so I started researching the strategies and techniques used in various communities. It must involve teamwork. Neither the government nor third-party researchers have access to information about user behavior on social media platforms or the ecosystem’s flow of information. We all have a small part to play in the puzzle, so we must work together, share information, and warn one another when there is evidence of deceptive campaigns, particularly when it comes to interfering with elections. It is only natural to feel the need to criticize or refute false information when we encounter it on social media. But according to my research, this might have a negative impact. The best way to respond to fake news and lessen its impact might be to do nothing at all, which may seem counterintuitive.

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