As social media becomes a main outlet for news and information, disinformation and misinformation are becoming a threat to public trust, undermining the ability to conduct fair elections and weakening the voices of reliable news sources. The Open Government Partnership defines misinformation as information that is false but not created with the intention of causing harm. While disinformation is information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organization or country. The spread of these types of compromised information is supported by limited regulations and control on social media.
Open government principles and practices can help combat the undermining effect that disinformation has on social cohesion. Engaging people across Canada on the impacts of disinformation and providing them with tools to better identify authentic news sources can limit the spread of compromised information. Efforts to engage communities most vulnerable to these threats, such as youth, are particularly important. Governments can help counter disinformation by sharing authoritative data and information on key topics like elections, and by being transparent about how such information is collected and used to inform their decisions.
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