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

Eighty-six per cent of Internet users are fooled to believe fake news, which is majorly spread by Facebook, according to a global survey published on Tuesday.

The menace of fake news has contributed a surge in the distrust of the Internet as well as negatively impacting economies and political discourse.

Respondents said they want both governments and social media companies to crack down on these activities.

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.