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'Misinformation' and 'toxic' are the words of the year for 2018

Posted: 7:20 AM, Nov 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-26 16:24:15Z

If someone tells you any words other than "misinformation" and "toxic" are the words of the year, it's fake news.

Dictionary.com chose the word "misinformation" on Monday and said it intentionally went with "mis" over "dis." It's the idea of intent, whether to inadvertently mislead or do it on purpose, the website wanted to highlight, according to the Associated Press.

"The recent explosion of misinformation and the growing vocabulary we use to understand it have come up again and again in the work of our lexicographers," Dictionary.com says.

This year, we saw technology platforms grapple with the role they play in the spread of misinformation. Critics blamed Facebook, in particular, pointing to the following:

  • the revelation that Cambridge Analytica had harvested personal data on Facebook to create in-depth psychological profiles of individuals, which were used to influence the Brexit vote and the US election
  • the abundance of fake political ads across the platform; even after Facebook required political ads to include “Paid for by” messaging,  Vice News  found this feature easily exploitable by simply lying
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s stance that Holocaust denial posts do not breach Facebook’s code of conduct because they are only wrong as opposed to intentionally misleading
  • the lack of content moderation across languages on Facebook and  WhatsApp  that contributed to the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar

Other words that almost took 2018's top spot are "representation" (because of the popularity of movies such as "Black Panther" and "Crazy Rich Asians"), "self-made" and "backlash".

The word of the year for Dictionary.com in 2017 was "complicit."

The Oxford word of the year for 2018, announced on Nov. 14, is "toxic,"  according to Oxforddictionaries.com.