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Concept.png "Disinformation" 
(propaganda,  enemy image)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Interest of• Committee for the Free World
• DisinfoPortal
• Naz Durakoğlu
• First Draft
• Ryan Gawn
• Thomas Anthony Dooley III
• Mark Little (Journalist)
• Marianna Spring
• Matt Tait
• Trusted News Initiative
• Susan Wojcicki
Disinformation is a word used by those in power to malign opinions and people they don't like, and as a scientific-sounding pretext for censorship. Those in power often use projection when accusing others of spreading disinformation, as the official narratives tends to be full of lies and omissions. Can also be a real thing.

Regularly confused with the similar oh-so scientific-sounding words "malinformation", "misinformation" or simply information.

Disinformation is a word used by those in power to malign opinions and people they don't like, and as a scientific-sounding pretext for censorship. Those in power often use projection when accusing others of spreading disinformation, as the official narratives tends to be full of lies and omissions. Can also be a real thing.

Official narrative

Most linguists believe that the English word “disinformation” is a literal translation of the Russian "dezinformatsiya”, a term that Joseph Stalin is personally credited for coining. "Disinformation" was defined in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1952) as “false information with the intention to deceive public opinion”. The KGB used the term in the early 1950s to name a department specifically created to dispense propaganda.

Although, the word "disinformation" was certainly used by English-speaking Intelligence Agencies (CIA, MI6), it did not appear in English dictionaries until 1985, specifically in the Webster’s New College Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary. English use increased in 1986, after revelations that the Reagan Administration engaged in "disinformation" against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

By 1990, the term "disinformation" began to be used outside the world of Intelligence and fully established itself within the lexicon of politics. By 2000, the term had become a polite synonym of "lies" while it was at the same time often used to describe propaganda.

In 2017, the term “fake news” was named Collins' Word of the Year. Collins defines it as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”.



False (incorrect or misleading) information


False information that is given to people in order to make them believe something false or to hide the truth.
False information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumours) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.[1]


Speaker: Matt Tait (University of Texas)

In April 2018, Kaspersky posted a video on YouTube:

Over the past few months there's been a lot of talk in the media about "fake news" and "disinformation", especially in relation to the hacking and disclosure of thousands of emails belonging to the DNC and John Podesta during the 2016 US presidential election. But while the DNC hack may be the most recent high-profile example, "disinformation" and other forms of information warfare are not new – even in US political campaigns.
It isn’t the sole preserve of nation-states, and isn’t just limited to influencing elections. What is new is how modern technology like social media, machine-learning, targeted advertising and, yes, hacking have all led to a massive explosion in the scale and effectiveness of "disinformation".
So what is "disinformation"? How did we get here? What does the future of information warfare look like? And perhaps most importantly, what can we do to build software that is trustworthy even when facts appear to no longer matter and truth itself is under assault from all directions?[2]


“The weirdest thing about the Biden administration tasking itself with the censorship of "disinformation" on social media is that the United States is the hub of a globe-spanning empire that is built upon a foundation of disinformation, maintained by disinformation, and facilitated by disinformation.”
Caitlin Johnstone (July 2021)  [3]

“On 28 September 2023, the US Department of State released a landmark report on how the People’s Republic of China seeks to reshape the global information environment to its advantage by investing billions of dollars to construct a global information ecosystem that promotes its propaganda and facilitates censorship and the spread of "disinformation".[4]

China responded: "The US Department of State report is in itself disinformation as it misrepresents facts and truth. In fact, it is the US that invented the weaponizing of the global information space. The relevant center of the US State Department which concocted the report is engaged in propaganda and infiltration in the name of “global engagement”. It is a source of disinformation and the command center of “perception warfare”.
"From Operation Mockingbird which bribed and manipulated news media for propaganda purposes in the Cold War era, to a vial of white powder and a staged video of the 'White Helmets' cited as evidence to wage wars of aggression in Iraq and Syria earlier this century, and then to the enormous lie made up to smear China’s Xinjiang policy, facts have proven time and again that the US is an 'empire of lies' through and through.
"Even some in the US, such as Senator Rand Paul, acknowledged that the US government is the greatest propagator of "disinformation" in the history of the world."[5]
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the People's Republic of China (30 September 2023)  [6]


An example

Page nameDescription
Red herringSomething to distract from something else.


Related Quotations

"Countering disinformation"“the counter-disinformation space as a whole [in Georgia] is slightly less evolved than in other regions, still being largely though not exclusively focused on fact-checking, which might be termed counter-disinformation 1.0.”June 2018
"Countering disinformation"“Another barrier to combating disinformation is the fact that certain Kremlin-backed narratives are factually true. For example, the Serbian organisation European Western Balkans noted that one of the country's most prominent pro-Kremlin narratives relates to Russia's ongoing support for Belgrade in the Kosovo dispute which is true. Responding to inconvenient truths, as opposed to pure propaganda, is naturally more problematic.”June 2018
George Carlin“Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It's as simple as that. The CIA doesn't kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?”George Carlin
William Casey“We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”William CaseyFebruary 1981
Georgia“Conspiracy theories are also widespread. For example, a prominent narrative has been that the Lugar Center, a biological research laboratory in Tbilisi built with US assistance, is developing viruses to destroy Georgian genes.”June 2018
Ralph McGehee“The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President's foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting "intelligence" justifying those activities. It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies.”Ralph McGehee1983
Claire Sterling“The Judith Miller-like journalist in those days who spun the story about Agca's Soviet Bloc connections was Claire Sterling, whose disinformation was quickly picked up by The Reader's Digest, New York Times, NBC News, and other corporate media outlets.”Claire Sterling
Wayne Madsen
28 May 2007
The Last American Vagabond“They don't call it misinformation unless you are able to scientifically reference it.”The Last American Vagabond2021


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:British govt funded plan for censorship of factual NATO criticismArticle3 October 2023Jack PoulsonLeaked documents reveal British intel contractor Zinc Network singled out The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal for online censorship, and seeks to redefine factual criticism of NATO as disinformation
Document:Deception and distraction strategies relating to the John F Kennedy Assassinationarticle2017Garrick Alder
Document:I get abuse and threats online - why can't it be stopped?Article18 October 2021Marianna SpringThe Disinformation Specialist at the BBC gets criticism online for her "fact checking". Internet censorship is the answer.
Document:MPs given guide to spotting conspiracy theoriesArticle10 May 2024Marianna Spring
Jennifer McKiernan
Penny Mordaunt has commissioned a booklet for MPs on conspiracy theories.
Document:White House Must Establish Disinformation Defense and Free Expression Task Forceopen letter29 April 2021Electronic Frontier Foundation
Center for American Progress
Poynter Institute
Free Press
Access Now
Public Knowledge
Common Cause
PEN America
Andre Banks
Ashley Bryant
Win Black
Center for Democracy & Technology
Digital Democracy Project
Katy Byron
Simply Secure
Voto Latino
A number of alleged "free-speech organizations" begging to join the US government in implementing censorship in an Orwellian-named "Free Expression Task Force".
Document:Why some people are spreading false rumours about the Texas gunmanArticle9 May 2023Shayan Sardarizadeh
Mike Wendling
The BBC factchecks the recent 2023 Allen, Texas outlet mall shooting regarding the alleged Nazism of the Hispanic shooter
New Climate Reality, New MediaArticle10 August 2021Mike SmallCall out the worst of columnists and publications spouting writing that is clearly against the common good and against humanity’s future. A weekly prize for the worst culprits. Naming and shaming disinformation and sponsored propaganda.
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