Survey: Vast majority of people think they encounter false info online every week

Respondents from all generation groups agreed that the most important thing is whether information is being supported by sources or facts. — Google

A recent study has found that over 62% of people online think they encounter some form of false or misleading information on at least a weekly basis.

According to findings from the Poynter Institute – a nonprofit media institute and newsroom that provides fact-checking and media literacy training – in partnership with with YouGov and Google, about 50% of all Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z respondents aged between 18 to 57 expressed concerns about their family members being exposed to this sort of information when online.

Looking closer at the breakdown of data, the findings further outlined the frequency that users think they come across false or misleading content, with 35.7% claiming every day; 26.5% every week; 12.7% every month; 18.1% less than once a month; and only 7% who think that none of the information they see is false.

The blogpost went into further detail about the demographics of those who tend to cross-check the information they see online.

“Gen Zers are two times more likely than the Silent Generation (people 68 or older) to use a search engine to verify information, and also two times more likely than Baby Boomers to check social media comments to verify something they’ve seen online.

“They’re also more likely to use advanced search techniques, like reverse image search, or to engage in lateral reading – that’s when you open multiple tabs and perform multiple searches at once – an effective technique studied by the Stanford History Education Group,” the blogpost said.

Findings from the study also found that respondents from the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation age groups were less confident in identifying false or misleading information than Gen Zers, Millenials, and Gen Xers.

Respondents from all generation groups agreed that the most important thing when determining if something they saw online is the truth, is whether the information is being supported by sources or facts.

The survey was conducted with 8,500 respondents of varying ages across the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, India, and Japan, asking a range of questions to assess their information literacy skills and verification habits.

The Poynter Institute conducted this study with the goal of learning how users across generational lines verified information, along with how they decided what information to trust and share online.

It also emphasised how important it is to be able to trust the information available online, and that users should do their due diligence to check multiple sources to make sure what they see is the truth.

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Fake news , Misinformation , Fact Checking


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