NEWS30 March 2022

Millions ‘unaware’ of internet misinformation

News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – More than a third of people using the internet are unaware that online content could be false or biased, according to Ofcom.

Fake news written on typewriter

In its annual research into children’s and adults’ media use and online lives, Ofcom found that around 14.5 million UK adults online are unsure about or don’t consider the truthfulness of inline information.

One twentieth of internet users ( 6%) believe everything they see online, according to Ofcom. Four in ten adults said they had seen stories on social media in the past year that looked deliberately untrue or misleading.

Ofcom found that 69% of adults felt they were confident in identifying misinformation, but only 22% were able to correctly identify the signs of misinformation in a genuine post without making mistakes.

Among older children aged 12 to 17, 74% felt confident in identifying misinformation but only 11% were able in practice.

The report also identified several themes in people’s online experiences, including the growing popularity of TikTok as part of ‘multiscreening’, with the research identifying some children as being unable to focus on a single online activity.

Adults and children are becoming more passive online, Ofcom said, with people three times more likely to watch videos online than post their own content.

Many children were using fake Instagrams – so-called ‘finstas’ – to conceal aspects of their online lives from their parents, Ofcom found.

More younger people were also sharing technical skills and supporting others with using the internet, as well as using it for their own wellbeing.

The research findings are taken from Ofcom’s tracking surveys, such as the Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker.

@RESEARCH LIVE

1 Comment

6 months ago

Who designated the information as misinformation? Was it truly misinformation or was it deemed that from government sources the information disagreed with?

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