REPLACE Big Data Show logo
April 30 - May 1, 2025
North Javits Center | New York City

Data vs Disinformation: Five Ways to Cut through the Fat

Alistair Croll, tech veteran and conference chair for Data Universe 2024, says it best: “Data records our collective knowledge. Data feeds our algorithms. Data helps us adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

To be really helpful, that data must be easy to see and understand.

Data can help us tell stories in incredible, new ways. But it can also cut through stories and – in our complex modern media landscape rife with disinformation – give us something closer to an actual truth.

Here are five examples of data as fact. Some are simply and practically visualized, some use real-time data. All are equal parts inarguable and informative.

1. Where the government spends our money

Government budgets are opaque. Some might say deliberately so. In 2016, President Obama took a more inclusive view. After all, it’s our money: surely we should understand where it’s being spent. The result was this super clear and clean data visualization.

Since then, others have created more beautiful infographics with even more complex economic data – like this stunning work from the Center for International Development: the globe of economic complexity. But the 2016 budget remains a shining example of how to impart information quickly, and simplify even the most complex of topics.

2. How Hollywood skews male

Another complex topic. And a great example of how data can remove whataboutery and alternative facts to get straight to constructive discussion.

The Bechdel Test is a simple measurement of sexism in movies. To pass, a film must satisfy three requirements…

* It must feature at least two women

* Who talk to each other

* About something other than a man

A lot of movies fail. But, as visual journalists Hanah Anderson and Matt Daniels found out when they analysed those movies: “Commenters were quick to point out that the Bechdel Test is flawed and there are justifiable reasons for films to fail (e.g., they are historic).”

So, to obtain a more objective view of gender in film, they measured the dialogue of 2000 movies – and the results are eye-opening. 50% of the world is female. 75% of movies skew male. The Bechdel Test maybe flawed, but its results were correct.

3. The world’s biggest data breaches and hacks. Live

Data security is a very big thing. If it were measured as a country, then cybercrime would be the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China.

Here is an interactive data visualization explaining where and how the world’s biggest breaches and hacks happened. And here is a live cyber threat map. Take care out there.

4. The things that matter, right now

Do you remember when Oreo won the Super Bowl with its “dunk in the dark” tweet? A quick thinking marketer saw what was happening, understood the audience, and acted.

Neither of these next two data visualization examples are pretty. But they’re both real-time windows on your audience and what your audience actually cares about right now. Here are the most clicked on news stories (by country). And here are the current Google search trends (again by country). Time to fire up that creative team.

5. And finally, the weather

The climate is changing and so is the weather. But at least everyone can be Al Roker these days.

Ventusky, Windfinder and Windy take the many millions of datapoints that form the global weather network, and make them available to all. While useful graphics and simple filters ensure the resultant information is clear, unbiased, and often very beautiful.