War of the Words: How Individuals Respond to “Fake News,” “Misinformation,” “Disinformation,” and “Online Falsehoods”

Edson C. Tandoc, Seth Kai Seet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While some argue the term “fake news” has lost its meaning and should be discarded from academic lexicon, others say the term has conceptual utility and one that the public understands. This study revisits these arguments and compares how individuals respond to the term “fake news” with how they respond to other related terms, such as “misinformation,” “disinformation,” and “online falsehoods.” Through an online survey involving a representative sample of 1,015 adult participants in Singapore, this study found that participants who saw the term “fake news” reported the highest level of perceptions of falsity and intentionality. The term “fake news” also elicited the highest level of concern, perceived severity, and treatment recommendation, although the terms “misinformation” and “online falsehoods” also displayed similar levels, while “disinformation” elicited the lowest ratings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Practice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Disinformation
  • fake news
  • falsehoods
  • framing
  • misinformation
  • public opinion

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