People more wary of others viewing Covid-19 fake news than themselves – survey

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People are more worried about the amount of coronavirus misinformation others are exposed to than themselves, a survey suggests.

Six in 10 Britons (60%) told Ofcom they are concerned about the potentially harmful information others may see online related to the virus, compared with just over a third of respondents (36%) who were concerned about their own consumption of such fake news.

It comes as 29% of respondents revealed they have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19 in the last week, down from a peak of 50% during the third and fifth week of lockdown.

Those who come across fake news did so fairly frequently, with more than six in 10 (62%) saying they had seen some at least once a day and one quarter (25%) a few times a week.

The regulator – which has spoken to 2,000 adults every week since lockdown was announced – found that claims linking 5G to the virus remain the most commonly seen piece of misinformation, although their prevalence has decreased over time.

Conspiracy theories about 5G have been a particular problem in the UK during the crisis, with dozens of mobile masts across the country subjected to attacks.

Elsewhere, consumption of news about coronavirus remains strong but has dropped off from 99% at the start of lockdown to 85%.

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  • Show Comments
    1. If we had a competent and honest mainstream media ‘fake news’ wouldn’t be a problem.
      Sadly, as the general election in December showed, we have an institutionally corrupt and dishonest media. I wouldn’t trust a word they say about anything .
      So, rather than blaming the public for ‘believing’ fake news, the govenment should do something about our newspapers and TV networks. To begin with, ban ownership by anyone except British citizens, and bring in prison sentences for the kind of deliberate lies we saw during the last election campaign.
      That way we’ll have more faith in what we’re being told.

    2. Seems like the problem is the lack of independent news with too many undeclared vested interests at play and nobody willing to expose that. There was a time when fake news wasn’t a thing, in that time, the mainstream lied less, maybe because the lies were a lot smaller. Now we have much bigger lies and anyone trying to expose that is labelled as fake.

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