Communication Study Y Servimedia present the study “Hoaxes and Misinformation”which has been presented by the Minister Spokesperson of the Government, and has aimed to find out who promotes hoaxes and disinformation, how they are spread and what effects they have on society.
The study shows that both the general public as well as journalists and communicators believe that we are all guilty of creating and spreading hoaxes and disinformationand that education, the training of citizens and future journalists are the best ways to avoid the negative effects of deception and manipulation.
With an increase in cases after the pandemic, both the general public and journalists and communicators believe that we are all guilty of creating and spreading hoaxes (fake news) and misinformation. Communication professionals believe that falsehoods of a political nature are the ones that most affect citizens, while the rest of the participants point out that those of a social nature are the ones that can cause the most problems.
The main reason why disinformation and hoaxes are generated is to harm the image or reputation of people and organizations. The participants also perceive that the desire to obtain a benefit is very present, either for the person who generates falsehoods or for the group to which they belong. According to journalists and communicators, the work of the verification agencies is essential to contrast specialized topics, such as scientific or health, and it is not to the same extent for general content.
Summary of study conclusions:
• 66.7% of the general public and 60.7% of communication professionals perceive an increase in the volume of hoaxes (fake news) and misinformation after the pandemic.
• For 57.6% of journalists and communicators and for 47.4% of the rest of the participants, we are all guilty of spreading hoaxes and disinformation.
• Only 11.3% of communication professionals believe that the media is responsible for creating or spreading falsehoods, but 31.6% of the rest of those interviewed believe that the media is responsible for this problem.
• The disinformation that most affects citizens is that of a political nature, according to 84% of participating journalists and communicators.
• 69.2% of those who did not identify themselves as communication professionals marked falsehoods of a social nature as the ones that most affect them.
• For journalists, the most active social networks in the spread of disinformation are those of individuals (92.7%) and those of politicians and parties (78.9%).
• 75.7% of communication professionals believe that native digital media are very active in spreading falsehoods, followed by television (47.9%).
• Information agencies are little or not at all active in spreading hoaxes and disinformation for 80.6% of the journalists interviewed.
• Most types of disinformation, except satire or parody, are considered very harmful by journalists and communicators. Especially the “misleading content” type, which is seen as such by 96.9%.
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