The Beehive Encyclopaedia: What is Disinformation?

Disinformation is a technical term used for misinformation (or ‘fake news’) when the misleading element is intentional. Usually, this happens when the person, newspaper or organisation behind it wants to actively manipulate their audience into thinking or acting in a way that benefits them, the individuals or organisations connected to them, or even more broadly the causes that they support. This benefit may be indirect, when not directly linked to the actual information – for example, when the false information has the power to please or increase their readership, or even when it has positive side effects on the newspaper, the authors or the social groups they belong to more broadly (see the power of storytelling). It can also be direct, when the content benefits shareholders, employees and people linked to them (for example, the Sun hypothetically defending that Rupert Murdoch is innocent in a law suit would be a way of directly benefitig its shareholder). 

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