Results from a new global survey on internet use has found a “growing discomfort with social media and the power these corporations wield over their daily lives,” according to those behind the study.
It also found that a lot of people have fallen for fake news, with three quarters of respondents saying they’ve personally seen fake news stories on Facebook.
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Now in its fifth year, the CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey involved more than 25,000 internet users in over two dozen countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The survey found that social media companies emerged as the leading source of user distrust on the internet — surpassed only by cybercriminals — with 75% of those surveyed who distrust the internet citing Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms as contributing to their lack of trust.
While cybercriminals – cited by 81% of those who distrust the internet – remained the leading source of distrust, while a majority in all regions (62% globally) indicated that a lack of internet security was also a critical factor.
In Canada alone, 89% of respondents said social media was the leading cause of their distrust in what they see on the internet.
The majority of respondents — nearly 90% — admitted they had fallen for fake news.
Here’s a look at some key findings from the report:
- 86% said they had fallen for fake news at least once, with 44% saying they sometimes or frequently did. Only 14% said they had “never” been duped by fake news.
- Facebook was the most commonly cited source of fake news, with 77% of Facebook users saying they had personally seen fake news there, followed by 62% of Twitter users and 74% of social media users in general.
- 10% of Twitter users said they had closed their Twitter account in the past year as a direct result of fake news, while 9% of Facebook users reported doing the same.
Across the board, nearly half (49%) of those surveyed who distrust the internet said their distrust had caused them to disclose less personal information online, while 40% reported taking greater care to secure their devices and 39% said they were using the internet more selectively.
As well, fewer than half (48%) believe their government does enough to safeguard their online data and personal information, with the lowest confidence levels in North America (38%) and the G-8 countries (39%).
While 73% said they wanted their online data and personal information to be stored in their own country, majorities 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.
The survey results “tell us that people around the world are increasingly concerned about their privacy and security online,” said Sally Wentworth, vice president of Global Policy Development for the Internet Society. “However, we also see that users aren’t utilizing tools like encryption that can help secure their communications.”
It’s clear, she added, “that there is more we can be doing as a community to make it easier for internet users to secure their communications.”