Disinformation is false information that’s intended to mislead by appealing to emotions and prejudices and overriding rational thought. Combating Disinformation is widely regarded as an emerging discipline for communications professionals. In a Digital Society, Social Technologies are the primary vectors for Disinformation, where Bots are used to exploit confirmation bias and the Echo Chamber Effect in order to spread the false information with greater ease. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, which is created and/or spread unintentionally. See Computational Propaganda and Spiral of Silence.
Computational Propaganda (COMPROP) is a targeted form of Disinformation that combines the calculational capacity of supercomputers with the insights of big data to manipulate public opinion in ways that advance the goals of its creators. Using automated scripts, called Bots, COMPROP makes use of Social Media as vectors in order to reach the widest audience possible.
The 2016 US presidential election cycle brought attention to the practice following foreign interference in the domestic political process, acting as a “watershed moment in the evolution of computational techniques for spreading political propaganda.”