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Misinformation is everywhere

From Google searches to Social Media, News websites and even direct to your email, misinformation and disinformation content is everywhere!

  • Misinformation refers to false or out-of-context information that is presented as fact regardless of an intent to deceive.
  • Disinformation is a type of misinformation that is intentionally false and intended to deceive or mislead.
  • Both misinformation and disinformation involve the sharing of bad or debunked information, with varying intents and purposes.

You may have seen in the news recently that less than 50% of Australian adults know how to identify misinformation online. We are bombarded daily with content and we need to take the time to decide what is worthy of our attention and what is not worthy. If it sparks our interest, how do we then confirm that it is true and real?

You should consider it to be suspicious:

  • If it seems too good to be true
  • It plays to your own implicit biases
  • It elicits either extremely positive or negative emotions
  • If it’s not properly sourced, or the stats appear out of date
  • If the grammar, spelling or punctuation is simply not correct

The best baseline way to interrogate a source of information is to check:

  • The author
  • The organisation
  • The date it was published
  • The evidence
  • What other sources say

For emails:

  • The email you have received is unsolicited – meaning you did not ask for this person to email you.
  • The cost to sign up or within the email (see below) is somewhat affordable, making it an easy hook and they can then hook you for more and more costs.
  • It meets the suspicious criteria listed above

What do you do

Always try to figure out where the information is coming from in the first place. It is not wise to just blindly trust everything you read, even if it is your friend sharing the content.

Commonly it is the more mature and not so digitally aware that are more likely to share misinformation and/or trust blindly the online content they see.

Here is a great article – Spotting scams: Clues are in the writing

Email – misinformation is everywhere

Email is one of the classic places where we receive misinformation and disinformation, have a look at this one I received recently.


Misinformation is everywhere


Now, this email example is one that makes it very easy to see and there are plenty of clues to it being a load of nonsense. Not every email or article makes it so easy and if you always refer to point one below in regard to emails, you will be ok.

  • I did not ask for this email
  • It is not addressed to me
  • It is marketing digital marketing to a digital marketing business – Even if you are not in this industry do not be tricked by someone sending you potential lies.
  • The grammar is shocking
  • The use of capitals is extreme
  • The errors listed are blatant lies
  • There are threats that Google may do something to create fear in the reader
  • There is a note telling me it is not fake or a scam when clearly it is
  • I can also assume that Margaret Smith is not this person’s real name

Fake News

While Donald Trump gave this expression notoriety he also shone a light on just how much ‘Fake News’ is out there, including his own.

We all need to take the time to ensure that we don’t just follow blindly everything that we read. Do your own research and choose trusted sources for both your news consumption plus your general and business knowledge consumption.

That old saying of ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’ has a lot of meaning in our everyday consumption of information.

  • How do you make sure that you do your own research?
  • Have you been tricked by a fake email or a fake article?
  • What do you do to make sure you have the correct information?

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