More than a third of internet users are unaware that online content might be false or biased, according to new Ofcom research.
It reveals that 30% of UK adults who go online (14.5 million) are unsure about, or don’t even consider, the truthfulness of online information. A further 6% – around one in every twenty internet users – believe everything they see online.
Misinformation can spread quickly on social media platforms. More than four in ten adults say they have seen a story on social media that looked deliberately untrue or misleading in the last year.
Although seven in 10 adults (69%) said they were confident in identifying misinformation, only two in 10 (22%) were able to correctly identify the tell-tale signs of a genuine post, without making mistakes. Ofcom saw a similar pattern among older children aged 12-17 (74% confident but only 11% able).
Online experiences uncut
Today’s reports reveal an unfiltered picture of our lives online today. Other themes emerging in this year’s research include:
- Multiscreening TikTots – TikTok is growing in popularity, even among the youngest age groups. The popularity of short-form content could also be linked to multi-screening, with more children reporting difficulties in focusing on a single online activity.
- Concealing life online – Many children could be tactically using other accounts or ‘finstas’ – fake Instagrams – to conceal aspects of their online lives from parents.
- Scrolling over sharing – both adults (88%) and children (91%) are becoming more passive online; and are three times as likely to watch videos online, than to post their own content.
- Social Samaritans – Young digital natives, who have never known life without the internet, are sharing their technical skills and supporting others. They’re also increasingly using the internet as a means of supporting their own wellbeing.