Up until the internet, all forms of disseminating information had one thing in common -- a relatively small group of people got to decide what information was shared, how it was shared, and to whom. If we trusted those sources, everything felt right with the system. If we didn't, there were few choices to spread our concerns about the veracity of the information being shared.
The internet changed all that. Now, we all have a voice. If that wasn't enough, we've added artificial intelligence to the mix. We can only imagine the secrets that have been kept from the masses over the course of human history because it was so easy to keep them. Now, it is almost impossible to keep secrets. Once more than a few people know a secret, it gets much easier to spread it because the source of the "leak" will be hard to ascertain.
Secret-keepers need new tools to combat leaks. Mis & dys information are those tools. Hidden among all the completely made up stories about would-be events and activities are actual secrets that have been leaked out. Of course, just as anyone can make a claim about "the true story," others can claim its falsehood. Good luck sorting out the mess. The whole idea here is that you can't.
Case in point: there is a pervasive claim that the U.S. has bioweapons labs in the Ukraine. In an attempt to search for "the truth," here's what I was able to uncover.
- China and Russia both claim they have evidence of the U.S. facilities and are seeking an investigation
- I was unable to find any evidence that U.S. officials would welcome such an investigation (which you'd think they'd want if the allegations were false)
- U.S. based scientists agree that there are U.S. funded bio-research facilities in the Ukraine (but not for weapons research)
- U.S. officials categorically deny the existence of said labs
- Some speculate that Russian accusations about bioweapons is a pretense to prepare their own bioweapon attack (because bioweapons are illegal by global treaty, so someone has to break the treaty first)
- The Russians have repeatedly used bioweapons or sanctioned their use (such as in Syria), whereas there is no record of such usage by the U.S.