False equivalence is a term that is used for two somewhat differing concepts in science and in journalism.
'False equivalence' is a logical fallacy which describes a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none. It would be the antonym of the mathematical concept of material equivalence.
A common way for this fallacy to be perpetuated is one shared trait between two subjects is assumed to show equivalence, especially in order of magnitude, when equivalence is not necessarily the logical result. The pattern of the fallacy is often as such: If A is the set of c and d, and B is the set of d and e, then since they both contain d, A and B are equal. It should be noted though that d existing in both sets is not required, only a passing similarity is required to cause this fallacy to be able to be used.
'False equivalence', also referred to as false balance, is the tendency of media to give equal time and credence to varying sides of a story, in order not to sound biased, even if one of the sides is objectively true and the other is just made up, or to place equal blame for a situation on two parties even when blame is not equally distributed.
Reporting by various media such as the Washington Post on causes for the United States federal government shutdown of 2013 led to accusations by many other media of false equivalence.      
- Rachael Dunlop (October 16, 2013). "Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media". The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "Media Keeps Up False Equivalency Reporting On Government Shutdown". Media Matters for America. October 9, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- Dan Froomkin (October 1, 2013). "Shutdown coverage fails Americans". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- James Fallows (October 9, 2013). "A Bountiful Harvest of False-Equivalence Analyses". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 17.
- Mark Coddington (October 4, 2013). "This Week in Review: False equivalence in shutdown coverage, and a paywall backtrack". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- Keith Wagstaff (October 2, 2013). "Blaming Republicans for the government shutdown: The end of false equivalence?". The Week magazine. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- James Poniewozik (October 7, 2013). "Not “Both Sides,” Now: Why False Equivalence Matters in the Shutdown Showdown". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 17, 2013.