– 7 out of 10 respondents say the can not always identify misinformation
– 3 in 10 respondents feel politicians and political parties are the main source of misinformation in Pakistan
– 75% respondents believe that collectively Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are used most often to spread misinformation
– Study find that the newspapers are the most trusted source of information, and social media platforms are the least trusted source of information in public eye.
– Contrary to the assertions made by many popular political leaders across the world, 9 out of 10 respondents believe that journalists do not contribute to the spread of misinformation
ISLAMABAD (10 February, 2020) – A significant majority of the public feels that misinformation is a challenge for Pakistan, finds a new study conducted by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD). The study finds that the number of respondents who blame politicians and political parties for spreading misinformation is two times more than those who blame media and journalists for doing so.
Misinformation – in the public eye launched on Thursday is an exploratory study by MMfD that aims to create a basic groundwork for further research on the subject of misinformation and its perception in public. It is based on a close-ended research survey of 503 respondents across Pakistan.
The study largely looks at three aspects of the broader misinformation paradigm: a) the public’s perception of misinformation; b) the impact of misinformation on public perception and trust in news media; and c) whether the public is using any strategies to tackle misinformation.
In terms of perceptions about misinformation, the study records that almost 5 in 10 respondents say they come across misinformation at least once a week. Two in ten say that they come across misinformation every single day. Only 3 out of 10 respondents feel they can always identify misinformation.
Seven in ten respondents believe that the digital platform Facebook is used most often to spread misinformation whereas one in ten sees YouTube and Twitter as the main platforms used to spread misinformation. The study finds that collectively, 75% of the respondents believe that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – the three platforms owned and operated by Facebook – are being used most often to spread misinformation.
When it comes to public trust, newspapers are the most trusted source of information for respondents with 3 in 10 saying that newspapers are never used to spread misinformation. Social media (platforms) are least trusted by the public in-terms of information. Four out of ten respondents say that social media is always used to spread misinformation.
Three in ten respondents have a low level of trust in the news media while 6 in 10 have an ‘average’ level of trust. About 5 in 10 respondents feel that the media is not free of political and economic influences.
Two in ten respondents between 18 – 25 years of age believe that WhatsApp is never used to spread misinformation. Women are 10% more likely to trust information they receive through WhatsApp, as 21% of women believe that WhatsApp is never used to spread misinformation as opposed to 11% men who have the same perception.
The study also finds that four in ten respondents believe that improvement in the internal policies and processes of social media platforms can help in dealing with online misinformation. Three in ten respondents think that online misinformation can be dealt with by improving media and information literacy of citizens. Five in ten respondents think that the government should prioritise development of a technical tool to counter disinformation.
Read the full report here