How Brazilians deal with fake news

The issue of false news has been gaining more and more prominence in Brazil and in the world. There are those who even attribute the results of the elections in US and France to the dissemination of false news. Exaggeration or not, the concern about the impact it may have on the Brazilian elections has already been a topic of discussion in the TSE (Higher Electoral Court of Brazil) and in the national press outside parties.

An article by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper published last February showed that in the previous month, the released pages of fake news were a little more than journalism in social networks.

The theme is delicate and requires attention. It should be discussed seriously and combat exhaustion, since fake news is nothing more than a spread of false news. Therefore, Opinion Box, in partnership with Digitalks, conducted a survey to find out what Brazilians think about false news. See the results below:

Internet as a source of information

It is no secret to anyone that the Internet assumes the leading role as a source of information. 76% of Internet users visit websites, blogs and portals as a source for reading, monitoring and disseminating news, whereas 74% use social networks. By way of comparison, open TV reaches up to 59%, radio 33%, and printed newspapers, 23%.

7 out of 10 respondents believe that the internet is a way to better inform themselves in general. On the other hand, 62% agree with the internet spreading false information.

What about false news?

65% of the respondents say they know what false news is, and 18% have heard the term but do not know what it really means.

Still, Internet users also think that fake news is part of everyday life. 37% of Internet users have already shared something in Social Networks or WhatsApp, and only later on they found out that the content was false. Of these, 57% erased the message and 29% disproved that information.

And when you are faced with fake content in your timeline, what do you do? 79% already realized that some friends or relatives have shared false news. In these cases, 46% reported to the sender about the falsity of the content, 38% commented on the publication itself, and 15% did nothing about it.

In addition, 60% have had contact with some fake profile. Of these, 61% denounced the profile, 32% did nothing about it and 7% contacted the person to delete the profile.

Finally, 8% admitted to have shared fake news intentionally, either because they thought it was funny, others because they wanted it to be true, or because they were not entirely sure it was fake.

Fake news and reliability in the media

The issue of the credibility of information and communication vehicles in general share opinions. 33% of respondents think social networks have more false than true news, and 24% think they have more true than false news.

34% agree that the internet has contributed to the decline in the quality of journalism, but 35% disagree with this information. 29% believe that the information disclosed by the media is reliable, while the same number, 29% believe that they are unreliable.

Thinking specifically about different media, TV is considered a reliable medium by 60% of Internet users, printed newspapers and magazines by 57%. 31% consider sites, social networks and blogs to be reliable, and only 16% rely on social networks.

Fake news: how to fight

7 out of 10 respondents who feel that more and more people have shared false news without realizing it. On the other hand, when speaking of themselves, people are very attentive to the verification of content. 8 out of 10 say they check the information before posting it on their own social networks.

Who is responsible for verifying the accuracy of such published contents? Here opinions also diverge. 30% think it’s the responsibility of the one who shares the news. 28% think the responsibility lies with the vehicle they publish it in. Finally, 25% think it is of the social networks where the news is published.

Technical information about the research: The fake news survey was conducted in early March this year with 2,016 Internet users from all regions of Brazil. The confidence level of the survey is 95% and the margin of error is 2.2pp.


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