86 percent of Internet users admit being duped by fake news: survey

In this file photo taken on October 17, 2018 Facebook worker Erin Landers leaves the company's "War Room," during a media demonstration in Menlo Park, California. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019
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86 percent of Internet users admit being duped by fake news: survey

  • The survey results showed people in Egypt were the most gullible while respondents in Pakistan were the most skeptical

OTTAWA: Eighty-six percent of Internet users have been duped by fake news — most of it spread on Facebook — according to a global survey published Tuesday.
Respondents said they want both governments and social media companies to crack down on these activities, which are contributing to a growing distrust of the Internet as well as negatively impacting economies and political discourse.
The United States 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 survey results showed people in Egypt were the most gullible while respondents in Pakistan were the most skeptical.
The results also revealed widespread distrust of social media companies and growing concerns over online 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 Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
“This year’s survey of global attitudes 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 in a statement.


Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

An Egyptian carries a load of newspapers in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2014. (AP)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

  • ‘The fake accounts ... are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners’

CAIRO: Egypt is reported to have 4 to 6 million fake news pages on social media accounts, according to Ali Hosni, undersecretary at of the General Directorate of Information and Relations at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The fake accounts, made to spread false information, are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners, he added.
Egypt has faced a flood of false rumors on an almost weekly basis, with claims such as that a newly appointed minister was in fact dead, or that of a girl kidnapped in the Beheira, who turned out to have runaway to avoid taking her exams.
According to a recent global survey, 86 percent of internet users have admitted that they have fallen for fake news online. The survey also showed that Egyptians were the most gullible in terms of fake news.

Prohibitory step
The government passed a law prohibiting fake news in an attempt to control the problem. The law, passed in July 2018, states that social media accounts with over 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets, and their owners could be subjected to fines or prison for spreading fake news.
Responses to the law were skeptical, as people wondered what defined fake news, while others found the law to be vague. With the global survey’s results, it can be presumed that the 2018 fake news law did not have too much of an impact.
There have been multiple reports of social media accounts masquerading as officials and in Egypt turning out to be fake. One, the page for Education Minister Mahmoud Abo Nasr, had 80,000 Facebook followers on it — his genuine official page had only 55,000 followers.