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Sorting the terminology of fake news

Media literacy is the ability to critically engage with media in all aspects of life. It is a critical form of lifelong literacy essential for full participation in society. But how do we know that the media and information we engage with are accurate and true to society?

The term “Fake News” has been used to describe the distortion of news presented to society. This sensational news bases its’ impact on an emotional response to information that may not be substantiated.

Nowadays, we are also impacted by disinformation, where false information is deliberately created and/or shared to mislead.

We then become producers of misinformation whereby in the act of sharing, we are misinforming others without realising that the information may be misleading.

Terminology exists to describe a variety of techniques utilised in the manipulation of information for means other than providing correct and substantiated information to society.

The information may be fabricated, where the stories, images, or websites are totally fake and carry false information or content. Manipulated content appears where genuine information or imagery is distorted to suit the creators’ desire. Further to this is imposter content which involves the impersonation of authentic sources. Content may be true but not quite right to the viewer. Misleading content refers to information presented misleadingly. Opinions may be presented in a way that makes the viewer believe it is factual. False context of connection provides factually accurate information but is presented in a false context. Deepfakes are videos, audio or images that have been altered with artificial intelligence software to make it appears as if a real person said or performed something they didn’t do or say.

With all these forms of disinformation, it becomes difficult to discern real from fake, but with practice and awareness students and families can become media literate citizens aware of the demands media places upon society.