Pollution Information

Information pollution (also referred to as “pollution”) is the contamination of information supply with irrelevant, redundant, unsolicited and low-value information. [1] The spread of useless and undesirable information can have a detrimental effect on human activities. It is considered one of the adverse effects of the information revolution . [2]


Pollution is a large problem and is growing rapidly. (IM) and RSS feeds . The majority of the modern descriptions of information pollution apply to computer based communication methods, such as e-mail , instant messaging . The term acquired particular relevance in 2003 when Jakob Nielsen , a leading web usability expert, published a number of articles discussing the topic . However, as early as 1971 researchers were expressing doubts about the negative effects of having to recover “valuable nodules from a slurry of garbage in which it is a randomly dispersed minor component.” [3] People use information in order to make decisions and adapt To circumstances. yet, Cognitive studies have demonstrated that there is only so much information that they can proceed before the quality of their decisions begins to deteriorate. [4] The excess of information is commonly known as information overload and it can lead to decision paralysis, where the person is unable to make a decision as they can not see what is relevant anymore. [1] [1] [1] [2] [2] [1] [1] [2] The concept of pollution has been exacerbated. Anything that distracts our attention from the essential facts that we need to consider a pollutant . [4] The excess of information is commonly known as information overload and it can lead to decision paralysis, where the person is unable to make a decision as they can not see what is relevant anymore. [1] [1] [1] [2] [2] [1] [1] [2] The concept of pollution has been exacerbated. Anything that distracts our attention from the essential facts that we need to consider a pollutant . [4] The excess of information is commonly known as information overload and it can lead to decision paralysis, where the person is unable to make a decision as they can not see what is relevant anymore. [1] [1] [1] [2] [2] [1] [1] [2] Theconcept of pollution has been exacerbated. Anything that distracts our attention from the essential facts that we need to consider a pollutant .

The use of the term information pollution also draws attention to the parallels between the information revolution that began in the last quarter of the 20th century and the industrial revolution of the 18th-19th century. [2] [5] [6]Information pollution is seen as the equivalent of the environmental pollution generated by industrial processes. Some authors claim that we are facing an information overload crisis of global proportions, in the same scale of the threats faced by the environment. Others have Expressed the need for the development of an information ecology to mirror environmental management practices. [4]

Manifestations of pollution information

Although information is available in many formats, its manifestations can be broadly grouped into those that provoke disruption and those that affect the quality of the information.

Typical examples of disrupting information include unsolicited electronic messages ( spam ) and instant messages, especially when used in the workplace. [7] Mobile phones (the ring tones and also the actual conversation) can be very distracting in certain environments. Disrupting information is not always technology based. A common example is unwanted publicity in any format. [8] Superfluous messages, for example unnecessary labels on a map, also constitute an unnecessary distraction. [7]

Alternatively, the information supply may be polluted when the quality of the information is reduced. This may be due to the information itself being inaccurate or out of date [6] but it also happens when the information is badly presented. For example, when the messages are unfocused or unclear or when they appear in cluttered, wordy or poorly organized documents that make it difficult for the reader to understand their meaning. [9] This type of information pollution can be addressed in the context of information quality . Another example is in government work. Laws and regulations in many agencies are undergoing rapid changes and revisions. Government workers’

Causes and sources

Cultural factors

A number of factors have contributed to the growth of information pollution:

Information has been seen traditionally as a good thing. We are used to statements like “you can not have much information”, “the information is better” [7] and “information is power”. [6] The publishing and marketing industries have been used to printing excessive copies of books, magazines and brochures. [8]

As new technologies made it easier for information to reach the furthest corners of the planets, we have seen a democratization of information sharing. This is perceived as a sign of progress and individual empowerment, as well as a positive step to bridge the divide between the information and rich information. [5] [6] However, it is important to note that this is not the case.

The role of information technology

As already mentioned, information pollution can exist without technology, but the technological advances of the 20th century and, in particular, the internet have played a key role in the increase of information pollution. Blogs , social networks , personal websites and mobile technology all contribute to increased “noise” levels. Some technologies are seen as especially intrusive (for example instant messaging) . [7] Sometimes, the level of pollution causes the use of the environment. For example, e-mail is likely to cause more information pollution when used in a corporate environment than in a private setting.


The effects of information pollution can be seen at a number of levels, from the individual to society in general. The impact on trade is likely to be particularly detrimental.

Effects on the individual

At a personal level, information pollution will affect the capacity of the individual to evaluate options and find adequate solutions. In the most extreme case it can lead to anxiety, decision paralysis and stress . [9] There are also some negative effects on the learning process. [10]

Effects on society

Aside from its impact on the individual, some authors argue that information pollution and information overload can cause loss of perspective and moral values. [11] This argument has been used to explain the indifferent behaviour that modern society shows certain aspects such as scientific discoveries, health warnings or politics. [1] Because of the low quality and large quantity of the information received, they are becoming less sensitive to headlines and more cynical towards new messages.

Impact on business

As decision making is a key part of the business world. Information pollution may cause employees to become burdened with information overload and stress and consequently slower or inadequate decisions. Increased information processing time. Flawed decision making will also increase the risk of critical errors taking place. [1] [9]

Work interruptions caused by e-mail and instant messaging can also add considerably to wasted time and efficiency losses. [9]

Proposed Solutions

A number of solutions to the problem of information pollution have been proposed. These range from those based on personal and organizational management techniques to the type based on technology.

  • Among the technology-based alternatives are the use of decision support systems [1] and internet control panels which enable prioritization of information. [7] It has also been advocated that technologies that create frequent interruptions should be replaced with less “polluting” options. [4]
  • At an Organizational level, some of the solutions Proposed include the enforcement of email use policies [9] and the development of an information integrity assurance strategy, in similar lines to Existing quality assuranceframeworks. [1] Time management and stress management techniques can be applied to a personal or organizational level. This would involve setting priorities and minimizing the opportunities for interruptions. As an individual, writing clearly and concisely would also help to minimize pollution information on others.
  • At the society level, in connection with the development of the information society , [12] appeared information pollution, evolving information ecology – associated with information hygiene . [13]

Related terms

Infollution: The term infollution gold informatization pollution Was INITIALLY coined by Dr. Paek-Jae Cho, Chairman & CEO of form KTC (Korean Telecommunication Corp.) , in a 2002 speech at the International Telecommunications Society (ITS) 14th biennial conference to describe Any Undesirable side effect. [14]

See also

  • Digital divide
  • Information explosion
  • Overload information
  • Information quality
  • Information revolution
  • Information society
  • Informatization
  • Spam (electronic)
  • Stress management
  • Time management


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Orman, Levent (2015). “Fighting Information Pollution with Decision Support Systems”. Journal of Management Information Systems. 1 (2): 64. JSTOR  40397792 . Doi : 10.1080 / 07421222.1984.11517704 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Kai-Yuan Cai; Chao-Yang Zhang (1996). “Towards a research on information pollution”. 1996 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. Information Intelligence and Systems (Cat. No.96CH35929) . 4 . p. 3124. ISBN  0-7803-3280-6 . Doi : 10.1109 / ICSMC.1996.561484 .
  3. Jump up^ Ettinger, MB (1971). “A solution to the information pollution problem”. Chemical Technology . 1 (6): 330-331.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Bray, DA (2008). Information Pollution, Knowledge Overload, Limited Warning Spans, and Our Responsibilities as IS Professionals . Global Information Technology Management Association (GITMA) World Conference .
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Nayar, Madhavan K. (2004). “Information Integrity (I * I): The Next Quality Frontier”. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence . 15(5-6): 743. doi : 10.1080 / 14783360410001680224 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Capurro, R. (1990). Towards an Information Ecology . In: I. Wormell, ed. Information and Quality . London: Taylor Graham. pp. 122-139
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Nielsen, J. (2003). “IM, Not IP (Information Pollution)” . ACM Queue . 1 (8): 75-76.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Mitchell, A. (1999). “High prize for tackling information pollution”. Marketing Week . 22 (17): 28.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Managing Information. 2008. In Focus: Managing the ‘Information Pollution’. Managing Information , 14 (10), p. 10-12
  10. Jump up^ Doomen, J. (2009). “Information Inflation” (PDF) . Journal of Information Ethics . 18 (2): 27. doi : 10.3172 / JIE.18.2.27 .
  11. Jump up^ Arthur, Chris (1993). “Zen and the art of ignoring information”. The Information Society . 9 : 51. doi : 10.1080 / 01972243.1993.9960131 .
  12. Jump up^ Resolution A / RES / 60/252, dated 27 April 2006, adopted by the General Assembly on the World Summit on the Information Society.
  13. Jump up^ Eryomin, Alexei L. (2007). “Information ecology – a viewpoint” . International Journal of Environmental Studies . 54 (3-4): 241. doi :10.1080 / 00207239808711157 .
  14. Jump up^ Cho, Paek J. (March 20, 2002). ” ‘ Influence and the Quality of Life'(PDF) . Stanford.edu . Retrieved 4 May 2017 .

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *