Access to reliable and accurate information is critical at the best of times, but during a crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a matter of life and death.
This policy brief – the first of two in a series – uses the term disinformation to broadly refer to content that is false and has potentially negative impacts. These impacts can have fatal consequences during a pandemic.
The intent of the agent producing or sharing the inaccurate content can differentiate disinformation from misinformation. The production of content promising fake treatments for reasons of private profit is an example of disinformation. But it can be described as misinformation when the same content is believed to be true, and is then shared with the intention of being helpful.
In the case of COVID-19, the responses may vary according to the diverse motivations of those who are complicit in both disinformation and misinformation.
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