86% of Internet users being duped by fake news, says survey

U.S. takes the lion’s share of blame for its spread, followed by Russia and China

Updated - June 12, 2019 10:14 pm IST

Published - June 12, 2019 10:11 pm IST - Ottawa

Fake news most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube and Twitter.

Fake news most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube and Twitter.

Eighty-six percent of Internet users have been duped by fake news — most of it spread on Facebook — according to a global survey published on Tuesday.

Respondents said they want both governments and social media companies to crack down on these activities, which are contributing to a growing distrust of the Internet as well as negatively impacting economies and political discourse.

The U.S. took the lion’s share of the blame for spreading fake news, followed by Russia and China, according to the annual Ipsos survey of more than 25,000 Internet users in 25 countries.

Fake news appeared to be most prevalent on Facebook, but also appears on YouTube, blogs and Twitter, the pollsters found.

The results showed people in Egypt were the most gullible while respondents in Pakistan were the most sceptical. It also revealed widespread distrust of social media firms and growing concerns over privacy and biases baked into algorithms used by Internet companies.

The poll — which relied on both in-person and online interviews — was conducted between December 21, 2018 and February 10, 2019 on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). “This year’s survey not only underscores the fragility of the Internet, but also netizens’ growing discomfort with social media and the power these corporations wield over their daily lives,” CIGI’s Fen Osler Hampson said.

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