You can’t trust everything you read online.

That’s what Canadians believe according to a new public opinion poll from Forum Research on the topic of ‘fake news’ on social media.


The poll sampled 1,619 respondents and found 65% of them do not trust social media.

“There is a healthy skepticism about social media, and more than half of Canadians say they would support laws restricting fake news,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, President of Forum Research.

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“Age is a predominant predictor of social media usage,” Bozinoff added. “Younger respondents are more likely to use Instagram, more likely to say they’ve seen fake news, and more likely to use social media frequently.”

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There has been a growing unease amongst users on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter over the degree to which they are culpable for the existence of fake news on their platforms and how users personal data is being used.

The poll found 55% of respondents say what they see on Facebook is about half true and half fake news.

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Similar results were found regarding Twitter, as 51% of respondents said Twitter is about half true and half fake news.

Facebook says fake news is an issue, admitting it erodes trust in the media and the spread of misinformation has real-world consequences.

A Forum Research poll of 1,619 Canadians found over half of respondents say what they see on Facebook is about half true and half fake.

Forum Research

Facebook claims it is taking several steps to curb the prevalence of fake news on its platform, including using machine learning to detect fraud and enforce their policies, updating detection of fake accounts, and using third-party-fact checking organizations to better identify fake news.

Yet Canadians are divided when it comes to government regulations for social media, as 45% of respondents disagree that the government should regulate social media.

Last month Elections Canada scrapped plans to spend more than $650,000 hiring 13 social media influencers after it was revealed they were predominantly liberal and left-leaning.

Elections Canada CEO Stephane Perrault said in a statement: “I did not have the necessary reassurances I needed to make sure that Elections Canada would maintain our organizational reputation for unimpeachable neutrality.”

The issue of fake news on social media is increasingly coming back into the media spotlight as the fall federal election nears and the campaigns for the 2020 U.S. presidential election begin.

POLL: Canadians distrustful of social media, believe it’s fake



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