I have checked OALD. I looked up "disinformation" which according to dictionary means "false information that is given deliberately, especially by government organizations" and "Misinform" as a verb means "to give somebody wrong information about something". However, there is no explanation of the word "Misinformation" as a noun. What exactly is the difference between these two? I would like to know if there is any nuance between these two words or if they can be used interchangeably.
Misinformation is false information that is simply wrong irrespective of whether it is deliberate or accidental, a genuine mistake or criminal incompetence.
Disinformation is deliberate and implies a (government or corporate) policy of avoiding giving the whole truth, but may not actually be false - the idea is to avoid getting caught in an outright lie.
Whereas both misinformation and disinformation refer to information that is incorrect or misleading, disinformation much more strongly indicates that the information is made so and spread in order to deceive people. The primary meaning for misinformation according to Cambridge is
wrong information, or the fact that people are misinformed
whereas for disinformation, it is flatly
false information spread in order to deceive people
Suppose I am exploring a new town. A sign indicating the metro station has been placed backwards, and thus points the wrong way. This would be simple misinformation. But suppose someone placed the sign that way so that tourists walk down a side street where they would need to walk by his friends— who are muggers. That is disinformation.
The American online dictionaries make disinformation the far more sinister term, one that suggests a conspiratorial institutional effort:
(MW) disinformation, n. false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth
(AH) disinformation, n. Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation:
Misinformation can be given innocently, negligently, or carelessly. For example, an astrologer might be sincere in his beliefs, but an educated person will consider his book misinformation.
Disinformation clearly implies that the person speaking is intentionally making a false statement that he or she knows to be false. For example: if a government shoots down a plane, then issues a false report that the pilot was drunk, that would be disinformation.
The difference is intent. With "disinformation" the intent is to deceive and to commit deception. With "misinformation" the intent isn't necessarily evil.
However, some politicians and others will use the passive voice, "I was misinformed" when they are caught out trying to pass disinformation. In this case there was an intent to deceive originally, but it didn't work.
protected by tchrist♦ Jan 24 '17 at 20:17
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