How to tell if it’s a myth or fact:
Misinformation vs. disinformation
We hear these words often, but what’s the difference?
misinformation is information that, according to the best evidence currently available, is false, inaccurate or misleading.
disinformation is a type of misinformation that intentionally tries to trick people into believing something for financial gain or political gain.
types of misinformation
- Memes with false information
- Sites that are meant to look professional but are not official
- Quotations that have been changed
- Images of outdated or disproved facts
- Misleading graphics
- Cherry-picked statistics
- Modified videos
Be sure before you share.
With so much misinformation, it’s important to take the time to make sure what you’re sharing is true.
Four steps you can take to combat the spread of misinformation
- Before sharing, make sure the original source is trustworthy and updated regularly. If you’re not sure, it probably isn’t safe to share.
- A shocking headline or image caught your eye? This could be your first clue that something is wrong. Misinformation often uses sensational or shocking text and images to get your attention – accurate information is usually less sensational.
- Misinformation is often “cherry picking” or emphasizing a small part of a story in order to mislead or alarm you. Try to get the full story and context behind content by checking sources you trust to see if they also contain the information you are unsure about.
- Do you have a trustworthy source? Share it. Misinformation spreads faster through the community when there is a lack of good, fact-based information.
What are trusted sources of information?
The best place to start is with the CDC. Why? Because the CDC’s vaccine and immunization web content is researched, written, and approved by subject matter experts, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, and analysts. The content is based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Scientific and public health data is updated frequently and most sites are reviewed annually.
Other trusted sources for information on COVID-19 are:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Johns Hopkins University, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Federal Agency for Emergency Management (FEMA)