Disinformation visualization

Feb 7, 2014

Mushon Zer-Aviv offers up examples and guidance on lying with visualization.

We don’t spread visual lies by presenting false data. That would be lying. We lie by misrepresenting the data to tell the very specific story we’re interested in telling. If this is making you slightly uncomfortable, that’s a good thing, it should. If you’re concerned about adopting this new and scary habit, well, don’t worry, it’s not new. Just open your CV to be reminded you’ve lied with truthful data before. This time however, it will be explicit and visual.

It comes back to the whole “let the data speak” ideal. Data might have something to say, but the analyst, designer, etc still has to translate, whether that’s through statistical methods or visualization. Sometimes meaning gets lost when you’re not careful.

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