What is FUD?

It is the intention of this entry to try and ascertain what the correct definition of FUD is.  It is evident that this term is thrown around much as of late and is a ‘catch all’ for many to group people that they do not want to deal with.  So, let’s start by getting the “official” definition of FUD.  No, we are not going to an Encyclopedia or dictionary…we’ll go to the place where the community defines exactly what the definition is…Wikipedia. According the the Wikipedia definition, FUD was first defined as “any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.”  FUD then was applied to IBM and business practices.  Currently, it has become trendy to apply it to individuals. Later in the Wikipedia article, it goes on to state:

FUD can be used to offhandedly ‘smear’ criticism or legitimate debate, even in cases where the allegations are without merit or are merely implied; this tactic is often used in cases where the initial publicity surrounding claims of FUD is likely to vastly overshadow any subsequent retraction. Such an arbitrary usage is a general type of logical fallacy known as Ad hominem circumstantial

It is my opinion that this application of logical fallacy has replaced the actual definition of FUD in today’s society.  Today, people who see opinions and ideals other than their own gaining a public voice will immediately sling accusations of FUD toward the source…more often than not attacking the person or public voice that publishes them.  The gradual dilution of the actual meaning of FUD is part of the great divide that is prevalent in today’s online world.

Since FUD has changed a bit from being pointed at businesses to individuals…is there an updated definition?  Not really.  The term FUD has become a cop-out…an easy way to just dismiss what a person is saying without having to actually debate it.  FUD may need an updated definition but since it doesn’t have one, we have to fall back on the one provided.

So as stated earlier; FUD is a term used to show the disinformation, or the spreading of false information in order to deceive. Remember that the person has to have intent to deceive others with false info…not just false info…otherwise, they’re just misinformed or less thorough on their facts.  Hopefully, discussing the proper definition of this term will educate those that misuse it.

“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”

Isaac Asimov
Note:  This article was published previously and updated for repost.

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About

devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix administrator, a Technical Writer, and a System Analyst during his 10 years working with Technology.

  • br3n

    very good article and description of the way the term is being thrown at people.
    it is strange that people wont deal with the specific issues and instead attack the person.IMHO it shows the weakness of their position also.
    of course then you have the ones that attack more subtlely.they inspire others to attack by words very carefully written to incite them to come fight for their honor whih lessens their honor also.
    me i am direct and very strong willed and stubborn.
    i admit it tho.
    good luck on your blog and hope it grows.
    br3n

  • kunkles

    ..sure now let us know how to know when the person has intent.
    intent or no the results are the same and must be labeled FUD.

  • Votre

    Why not just use the existing term B.S.

    That’s what it is. Besides, it saves you a letter ;-)