How to navigate today's world full of false information

Social media hate speech.

Everyone has turned into a political commentator during this election season, and with that comes the challenge of preventing misleading information from being spread on various platforms.

More than ever, misinformation and disinformation are two types of false information being circulated. These two terms, which are frequently used interchangeably, are only separated by one letter. But behind that letter hides the critical distinction: intent.

Misinformation is false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead. Humans are fallible creatures. Everybody is capable of making mistakes, having a memory loss, details are misheard or forgotten.

If you are disseminating false information but are unaware that it is false, you are distributing misinformation. Disinformation, on the other hand, is intentional.

Additionally, social media algorithms are designed to show people the information they will interact with the most. These algorithms take advantage of the extensive data gathered about user activity online, such as browsing habits, past purchases, location information, and more.

Users who often come across content that supports their affiliations and ideas engage in confirmation bias, which facilitates the spread of misinformation.

Despite the aforementioned, there are initiatives aimed at stopping online misinformation; content control, transparency, or punishment. Content control includes blocking well-known misinformation propagandists from accessing platforms as well as algorithmic de-ranking of pages, postings, and user accounts.