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According to gogen-allguide.com デマ comes from the German demagogie, so it would make sense for it to be similar to demagogy in English. But demagogy is used for political things like false claims and promises, where デマ is much broader nowadays to mean any groundless statement or rumor 「根拠のない、いい加減な噂話」, even if it was political in nature at first.

For ガセ gogen-allguide.com simply defines it as 「偽物。まやかし物。噓。」 and describes it's origin as probably being the がせ of お騒がせ.

These are both very general definitions, so are they completely interchangeable anymore or are there situations where one would be preferred over the other?

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Both デマ and ガセ refer to false information (thus it's intangible), but the biggest difference is that デマ must be prevailing; it is always intended to be widely spread through rumors or SNS, and thousands (or millions) of people are affected. Fake news on Facebook is usually called デマ. See how the words like 噂, 流す, 扇動 are included only in the definition of デマ.

On the other hand, fake information obtained through a person-to-person deal is called ガセ (or ガセネタ, 偽情報, 嘘) but not デマ. At least in modern Japanese, whether the information is political is not important in both cases. (By the way, as far as I know, knock-off brand goods are called ニセ or エセ but not ガセ.)

  • I get what you are saying, but let me clarify some things. If ガセ comes from お騒がせ then is it not also affecting more than one person in a 扇動 sort of way (or is this only the origin and not necessarily reflected in how it is used now)? Also, am I correct in thinking that デマ is intentional where ガセ may be either intentional or unintentional? – By137 Aug 15 at 13:41
  • @By137 Both デマ and ガセ can be intentional or unintentional, but almost all デマ appear to be innocent and unintentional at least superficially😏. TBH I had no idea about the etymology of ガセ, but I feel almost no sense of お騒がせ in ガセ. – naruto Aug 15 at 14:02
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デマ is an abstract idea as you mentioned in the statement.

ガセ is a concrete stuff which you can qrasp by your hands. so, you can say ガセネタを摑{つか}まされる。 I would not say デマを摑{つか}まされる。

ガセ is close to パチモン. デマ is not.

See the link : コトバ解説 「デマ」と「ガセ」の違い

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    「デマを掴まされる」と言わないのは、デマとはそもそも世間一般に流布する類の情報であり取引などで自分だけが掴まされるようなものではないから、だと思います。有形か無形かでいえばデマもガセも情報なので無形ですよね。電子メールでもらったガセネタだってガセです。 – naruto Aug 15 at 2:10
  • @ naruto さん、ご解説ありがとうございます。ガセは的屋のイメージからどちらかと言えば有形ではないかと考えていました。もう少し咀嚼したいと思います。拝。 – kimi Tanaka Aug 15 at 2:30

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