Glossary: Methods to counter digital disinformation



Digital disinformation is a multi-faceted challenge that requires a range of countermeasures. The following glossary presents and explains the most important methods for countering disinformation. We present them in the order in which they take effect, before or during the spread of disinformation.


Prebunking is about preparing people for possible misinformation before they even encounter it, so that they can recognise misleading narratives and understand how disinformation works. Media users are trained in typical manipulation techniques such as scaremongering or de-contextualisation. The aim is to prevent the potential spread of false information.


Monitoring of digital platforms enables (independent) researchers and civil society organisations to observe and analyse the origin, dissemination, contexts, actors, impact, and other aspects of disinformation campaigns. Based on this, researchers can propose targeted countermeasures to platforms and develop data-informed policy recommendations for dealing with disinformation.


Demonetisation is the process of regulating or stopping advertising revenue or other monetary gains for channels or content on digital platforms. This is to prevent actors involved in spreading disinformation, hate speech or other harmful content from making lucrative profits from their campaigns. Thus, if a channel or account continuously distributes harmful content that violates a platform’s policies, or is identified as a frequent source of disinformation, services such as YouTube or Facebook may decide to restrict or completely disable (advertising) ads on its content.


Fact-checking is an important part of journalistic work. It involves systematically checking the accuracy of information and articles to ensure that the quality of content is verifiable, fact-based and reliable. The method includes thorough research, comparisons with independent and credible sources, and a transparent processing of the results, which are often additionally uploaded to (collaborative) verified content databases. Fact-checking is carried out by journalists, independent media organisations, research institutes and sometimes platforms themselves to promote the dissemination of reliable information and help correct false claims.


Trust-checking involves assessing the credibility of specific information. The aim is to consider the information in its context and to move away from a rigid, black-and-white or right-wrong assessments. Content is checked against journalistic quality criteria, such as the presence of sources, correct citations or use of authentic, verified images to assess its credibility. If information does not meet specific criteria, it is classified as less credible. In this way, information can be assessed by users themselves in everyday life based on objective criteria. The aim is to identify untrustworthy content and curb the spread of false information.


Deplatforming is a strategy used by platform operators to remove and exclude individuals or groups from digital platforms if they repeatedly violate the rules of use, e.g. through spreading hate speech or disinformation. The aim is to limit the reach of anti-democratic or manipulative messages, though this approach is sometimes controversial, as in the case of former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose Facebook and Twitter accounts were temporarily blocked for spreading conspiracies.


In contrast to fact-checking, in which individual content or statements are checked for accuracy, debunking deals with entire narratives. It involves classifying content and sources, publishing counterstatements, and identifying patterns used to spread disinformation on sector topics such as climate or gender. Debunking initiatives teach communication skills, gather evidence against misinformation, point out patterns of conspiracies, and provide credible sources.

Are you aware of additional innovative methods or are you involved in a particularly promising initiative to counter disinformation? Then feel free to contact us at We intend to continuously update and expand this glossary.


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