Conceptualising misinformation in the context of asylum seekers

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Abstract

This conceptual paper focuses on misinformation in the context of asylum seekers. We conducted a literature review on the concept of misinformation, which showed that a more nuanced understanding of information and misinformation is needed. To understand and study different viewpoints when it comes to the perception of the accuracy of information, we introduce two new concepts: perceived misinformation and normative misinformation. The concepts are especially helpful when marginalised and vulnerable groups are studied, as these groups may perceive information differently compared to majority populations. Our literature review on the information practices of asylum seekers shows that asylum seekers come across different types of misinformation. These include official information that is inadequate or presented inadequately, outdated information, misinformation via gatekeepers and other mediators, information giving false hope or unrealistic expectations, rumours and distorted information. The diversity of misinformation in their lives shows that there is a need to understand information in general in a broad and more nuanced way. Based on this idea, we propose a Social Information Perception model (SIP), which shows that different social, cultural and historical aspects, as well as situation and context, are involved in the mental process which determines whether people perceive information as accurate information, misinformation or disinformation. The model, as well as the concepts of perceived and normative misinformation, are helpful when the information practices of marginalised and vulnerable groups are studied, giving a holistic view on their information situation. Understanding the information practices more holistically enables different actors to give trustworthy information in an understandable and culturally meaningful way to the asylum seekers.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalInformation Processing and Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Vulnerable communities
  • Information practices
  • Misinformation
  • Asylum seekers
  • Migration

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