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False facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

False means untrue. A false statement, also known as a falsehood, falsity, misstatement or untruth, is a statement that is false or does not align with reality.

A falsehood can also be a series of lies, told to "prove" something that is false itself. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar. Lies can be interpreted as deliberately false statements or misleading statements, though not all statements that are literally false are considered lies – metaphors, hyperboles, and other figurative rhetoric are not intended to mislead, while lies are explicitly meant for literal interpretation by their audience.

In logic, "false" is one of the truth values (with the other one being 'true'). This is written as \bot, F or 0.



  • Intentionality: Misstatements can be made deliberately with the intent to deceive or unintentionally due to misconception.
  • Consequences: Impact of misstatements can vary, ranging from minor misconceptions to significant societal repercussions. In legal contexts, making false statements can have serious repercussions such as defamation, fraud, or perjury. The accuracy of statements is pivotal in maintaining trust within interpersonal relationships, professional settings, and broader societal structures.


  • Lie: Deliberate misstatement intended to deceive.
  • Misinformation: Inaccurate information spread without the intent to deceive.
  • Disinformation: Misinformation spread with the intent to deceive and manipulate opinions.

Causes and Motivations

Understanding the motivations behind misstatements is complex. Individuals may lie to protect themselves, gain an advantage, manipulate perceptions, or evade accountability. Psychological factors, societal pressures, and cognitive biases can contribute to the inclination to make misstatements. Cognitive dissonance may also play a role when individuals resist acknowledging the falsity of their statements.

The ethics surrounding misstatements are multifaceted. Honest communication is often considered a fundamental value, but ethical dilemmas may arise in situations where the truth conflicts with other moral principles or when individuals face personal or professional consequences for honesty.

Detection and Correction

  • Fact checking: Verification of statements through fact-checking organizations helps identify and correct misinformation.
  • Technology plays a role in both the spread and prevention of misinformation, with algorithms and artificial intelligence being employed to identify and combat false narratives.
  • Media literacy: Promoting media literacy can empower individuals to critically evaluate information and discern between true and false statements.

Historical Examples

  • Propaganda: Throughout history, misstatements have been used in propaganda to manipulate public opinion during times of war or political unrest.
  • Political campaign: Throughout history, misstatements have played significant roles in shaping narratives, influencing public opinion, discrediting dissidents and affecting political landscapes.

In law

In some jurisdictions, false statement is a crime similar to perjury.

United States

In U.S. law, a "false statement" generally refers to United States federal false statements statute, contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1001. Most commonly, prosecutors use this statute to reach cover-up crimes such as perjury, false declarations, and obstruction of justice and government fraud cases. Its earliest progenitor was the False Claims Act of 1863, and in 1934 the requirement of an intent to defraud was eliminated to enforce the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) against producers of "hot oil", oil produced in violation of production restrictions established pursuant to the NIRA.

The statute criminalizes a government official who "knowingly and willfully":

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.

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