Combating misinformation in various domains always has positive repercussions from the point of view of social welfare. For example, it is possible to prevent people’s political opinions from being manipulated through propaganda; it is possible to benefit consumers by preventing them from making purchases on the basis of false reviews; it is possible to reduce social anxiety about catastrophic events that are not actually occurring.
Using the dimensions of harm and falseness, we describe the differences between three types of information disorder:
▪ Mis-information is when false information is shared, but no harm is meant.
▪ Dis-information is when false information is knowingly shared to cause harm.
▪ Mal-information is when genuine information is shared to cause harm, often by
moving information designed to stay private into the public sphere.
In the field of health, combating health misinformation through the definition of technological solutions that can prevent users from coming into contact with false/inaccurate/unverified information has even more positive repercussions, both for increasing health literacy and the health of individuals, and for the protection of public health, with consequent benefits also for national health systems.
Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.
To this end, it is essential to promote research of an interdisciplinary nature, involving computer scientists, physicians, lawyers, and communication experts who can address the problem of health information disorder from different points of view by combining their expertise.