About 85 per cent of people worldwide are concerned about the impact of online disinformation, with 87 per cent believing it has already harmed their country’s politics, according to a global survey. This alarming trend has prompted the United Nations to unveil a comprehensive plan to combat this growing menace.
Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, emphasized the urgent need for regulation to safeguard access to accurate information while upholding freedom of expression and human rights. She presented a detailed “governance blueprint” outlining a framework for governments, regulators, and social media platforms to address the issue effectively.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos in 16 countries with upcoming elections, involving 8,000 respondents, revealed the pervasiveness of social media as a news source, with 56 per cent of internet users relying on it primarily, surpassing TV (44 per cent) and media websites (29 per cent).
Despite the widespread use of social media for news consumption, trust in the information that it provides remains significantly lower than in traditional media outlets. Only 50 per cent trust social media for news, compared to 66 per cent for television, 63 per cent for radio, and 57 per cent for media websites and apps.
Across all surveyed countries, a majority (68 per cent) identified social media as the primary platform for fake news dissemination, ahead of messaging apps (38 per cent). This perception was remarkably consistent across demographics, including age, education level, and geographic location.
The survey also highlighted the pervasive nature of hate speech online, with 67 per cent of respondents reporting having encountered it. This figure rose to 74 per cent among respondents under 35.
An overwhelming majority (88 per cent) expressed the need for governments and regulators to address both disinformation and hate speech, while 90 per cent called for social media platforms to take action.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheGuardian.