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By Mónica Elliott

Information: true or false

The 2024 election cycle is in full swing, which means we'll see a lot of announcements

and articles related to the candidates and the elections on social media, websites, television, newspapers and radio. We will see and hear information that is true, but there will also be many “falsehoods.”

A blog post on the Psychology Today website (published December 22, 2021) encourages people to understand the difference between “falsehoods,” especially as it relates to intent.

Three words are used to classify inaccurate information. Misinformation is “classified as unintentional dissemination.” Disinformation is classified as “deliberately transmitted, with the intent to deceive.” Disinformation is the spread of inaccurate information that is "both intentional and harmful to others."

The goal of many social media posts is to spread information, truths and lies, far and wide and hope it goes viral. MIT researchers published a paper in Science in 2018 that examined the spread of rumors on Twitter (now “X”) over a 10-year period. They learned that lies spread faster than the truth, especially fake political news.

Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) make things worse? Perhaps, as it will give those who wish to spread misinformation another development tool. But, as the MIT researchers also discovered in their study, humans spread information faster than robots!

When dealing with social networks and websites, we must pause, reflect on the information and do research before forwarding it to others.

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