The Various Dimensions of Disinformation: An introduction

Maci, Stefania M.; Demata, Massimiliano; Seargeant, Philip and McGlashan, Mark (2024). The Various Dimensions of Disinformation: An introduction. In: Maci, Stefania M.; Demata, Massimiliano; McGlashan, Mark and Seargeant, Philip eds. The Routledge Handbook of Discourse and Disinformation. Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 1–13.



Misinformation and disinformation have been an issue in the history of mass media for a long time. The rise of social media, based on user-generated contents and many-to-many communication, represented a step forward in the democratisation of the public sphere, as information could be made potentially available to all Internet users: through social media, online information reaches mass audiences. Fake news shares a common terrain with conspiracy theories, undoubtedly one of the most popular and influential phenomena in the context of disinformation. One of the main functions for which the creation and circulation of disinformation is used is propaganda. In this sense, propaganda is one of the purposes to which disinformation can be put, and many of the tactics available to the propagandist make use of disinformation as a resource. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.

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