Have you fallen for fake news on the internet? You’re not alone

Keyboard. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

According to a new global poll, 86 per cent of internet users admit they have fallen for fake news at least once.

In Canada, the incidence is even higher. About 90 per cent have admitted they have fallen for fake news. Only 10 per cent said they have never mistaken a false report as the truth.

Ipsos conducted the poll on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Internet Society. More than 25,000 internet users in more than two dozen countries participated in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

The 2019 survey is the fifth annual survey providing insight into the views of internet users on issues ranging from online security, social media, cryptocurrencies, and the Dark Web.

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / mybaitshop

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / mybaitshop

It paints a bleak picture for social media companies when it comes to credibility and the safety of online and personal information.

The 2019 survey points to social media companies as the second highest source of user distrust on the internet. Only cybercriminals scored higher. Globally, 75 per cent of cited Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for their lack of trust. In Canada, the figure was 89 per cent.

Facebook was blamed most for the spread of fake news at 68 per cent in Canada. Another third, 36 per cent, called out Twitter.

By comparison, 43 per cent of Canadians said they had seen fake news in mainstream media.

One-third of global respondents said the country most responsible for the disruptive effect of fake news on their country was the United States. Russia trailed significantly at 12 per cent, and China at 9 per cent.

Distrust online and fake news is also having an impact on our personal relationships. Around the world, 71 per cent said fake news impacted political discussions with friends and family, while in Canada, it was 58 per cent. Japan was the only country surveyed where less than half of respondents said it had an effect.

When it comes to how fake news affects our politics, and political discourse, 80 per cent of Canadians, 83 per cent of global respondents said the impact was negative.

More than half of global users said they were more concerned about their online privacy than a year ago, but 78 per cent admit they are troubled. Less than half believe their government is doing enough to protect online and personal information, but in North America, it is 38 per cent.