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Factoid is stating a fact that is not backed up by evidence. The factoid may not be trusted because

(a) it is actually false, or
(b) because evidence to support it cannot be checked.

Factoids become widely treated as if they were true.[1]

In 1973, the term factoid was created and first used by Norman Mailer.[2]

A factoid is "an item of unreliable information which is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as a fact".[3] The most important thing is that the factoid is widely believed.[4]

A factoid refers to something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact.[5]

The term can also be used to describe partial information without context.

References[change | change source]

  1. Pratkanis, Anthony R. (2001). Age of Propaganda: the Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, p. 104.
  2. Winslow, Donald J. (1995). Life-writing: a Glossary of Terms in Biography, Autobiography, and Related Forms, p. 24; citing Mailer, Norman. (1973). Marilyn: A Biography, p. 63.
  3. Simpson, J.A. et al. (2008). The Compact Oxford English Dictionary.
  4. Rollyson, Carl Edmund. (1993). Marilyn Monroe: a life of the actress, p. 36; excerpt, "the most mysterious property of a factoid [a fiction that masquerades or functions as a fact] is that it is believed by the people who put together the factoid next to it."
  5. Pruden, Wesley. "The Fearsome Reality of the Surreal," Jewish World Review (US). July 15, 2003.