(Reuters)
(Reuters)

Facebook leading source of fake news, responsible for online distrust, says internet survey

  • Facebook was the most commonly cited source of fake news, followed by Twitter
  • The survey also showed that one-third (35%) pointed to the US as the country most responsible for disruptive effect of fake news

In a new survey of internet users globally, social media companies emerged as leading source of user distrust in the internet, surpassed only by cybercriminals, and with 75% of those surveyed citing Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms contributing to their lack of trust.

These and other findings were released on Tuesday as part of the 2019 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in partnership with the Internet Society

(ISOC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Facebook was the most commonly cited source of fake news, with 77% of Facebook users globally saying they witnessed fake news on the site, followed by 62% of Twitter users and 74% of other social media users. About 10% of Twitter users said they closed their accounts in the past year as a direct result of fake news, while 9% of Facebook users reported doing the same.

In India, 14% have closed their Facebook accounts in the past year, as a result of fake news.

The survey also showed that one-third (35%) pointed to the US as the country most responsible for disruptive effect of fake news, trailed by Russia (12%) and China (9%).

Eight of 10 (78%) people surveyed were concerned about their online privacy, with over half (53%) more concerned than they were a year ago, marking the fifth year in a row when the majority of those surveyed said that worry about their online privacy has risen year-on-year.

Comparatively this figure was higher in India, with 92% of Indians concerned about their online privacy. 71% Indians agreed the government does enough to safeguard their online data and personal information and 60% were aware of data protection and privacy rules in the country, a figure which tops the list globally.

In other findings, citizens around the world have been increasingly viewing their own governments as a threat to their privacy online.

About 73% said they wanted their online data and personal information to be stored in their own country, most in Hong Kong (62%), Indonesia (58%), Egypt (58%), India (57%), Brazil (54%), and Mexico (51%) said they wanted their online data and personal information stored outside of their country. In contrast, only 23% of North Americans, 35% of Europeans and 32% of those in G-8 countries shared this sentiment.

Less than half of global citizens expressed some degree of confidence that algorithms used, in any context, were unbiased. The highest confidence was in algorithms used for facial recognition systems (47%) and search engines (46%), and was lowest for algorithms used for social media news feeds (32%) and predictive policing (34%).

A majority of internet users around the globe supported efforts by governments and internet companies to combat fake news, from social media and video sharing platforms deleting fake news posts and videos (85%) and accounts (84%) to the adoption of automated approaches to content removal (79%) and government censorship of online content (61%).

Nearly seven in 10 people familiar with blockchain technology believed that it will affect every sector of the economy (68%), that it should be implemented as widely as possible (67%), and that it will have an impact equivalent to the advent of the internet (67%).

One in 10 (12%) admitted to accessing the Dark Web, with higher percentages in India (26%), Russia (22%) and Brazil (21%). Two-thirds (66%) of global citizens — a majority in every country surveyed — believe that the Dark Web should be shut down. However, this number was down from 71% in 2016.

The 2019 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey was conducted between December 21, 2018, and February 10, 2019, and involved 25,229 internet users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the US.


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