Preliminary results

Survey on disinformation and fake news

Key objectives and outcomes of the project are:

About the Survey

As a part of the project SMARTeD, the on-line survey has been implemented to collect national realities, approaches and practical applications with the following specific objectives:

  • To assess the overall relevance of the issue of the disinformation and fake news in partnering countries of the project.
  • To assess the significance and effectiveness of different actions aimed to minimise the negative effects of the disinformation on national and European level, including actions that can be taken by online platforms, and the use of e-participation and e-democracy tools.
  • To address the role of politicisation in disinformation strategies as one of the causes of disinformation and fake news.

Key findings from survey results

The following key findings have been extracted from the analysis of the survey results:

  • 63 % of survey respondents indicated that disinformation in their countries is definitely a problem.
  • Respondents come across news of information that they believe misrepresent reality or is false at least once a week on average.
  • On average, respondents feel personally confident to identify news or information that misrepresent reality or is false.
  • Respondents are on average not very confident in their countrymen's ability to identify news or information that misrepresent reality or is false.
  • An average share of population in surveyed countries that cannot identify disinformation is 46 %.
  • Migration polices are an area of public life that is harmed to a greatest extent by an intentional disinformation, followed by trust in public institutions, trust in elected representatives and voting decisions.
  • Respondent recognize politicization of certain things, events, processes and milestones of present or past as a considerable challenge in the social and political life in contemporary Europe.
  • Current social issues (refugees, immigrants) are the most often politicized topic, followed by milestones of history and national security.
  • Politicization of certain things, events, social processes or milestones of history can produce a significant change in the way audience perceives certain phenomena in their countries.
  • Intentional political abuse of the phenomena for political purposes is very likely to cause harm to society in their countries according to survey respondents.
  • Anonymous social media accounts and politicians, followed by political parties, are the most likely agents to create and disseminate disinformation.
  • Social media and messaging apps, followed by online blogs and forums are most often indicated by respondents as the media in which people come across disinformation.
  • Majority of respondents agree that nations should take certain measures in tackling the disinformation.
  • Raising awareness among the public is considered by respondents the most effective measure for curtailing the adverse effects of disinformation, followed by implementing tougher self-regulating measures that strengthen accountability, fact checking, collective knowledge and monitoring capacity of disinformation among the information providers.
  • Commonly identified policies considered or already implemented to address the disinformation in surveyed countries are promoting media and information literacy to counter disinformation and help users navigate the digital media environment.
  • Promoting media and information literacy and encouraging critical thinking about the origin of the information on the internet are the most often preferred policies to address the disinformation in surveyed countries.
  • Media / journalists and media policy makers are most often recognized as groups that should take the leading role for curtailing the adverse effects of disinformation.
  • Majority of respondents agree that online platforms should assume greater responsibilities in protecting their users from disinformation.
  • Ensuring transparency about sponsored content is the most frequently indicated effort that should be stepped-up by online platforms in protecting its users from disinformation, followed by an effective closing of fake accounts and providing fact-checking access to platform via application programming interfaces.
  • Tools aimed at reporting the disinformation and specific platforms for making sound decisions before voting are the most frequent e-democracy tools used in surveyed countries to minimise the negative effects of the disinformation.
  • Suggested e-democracy tools to be used more to minimise the disinformation in surveyed countries are content trustworthiness rating systems in line with journalistic principles and tools aimed at reporting the disinformation, followed by trusted fact-checking organisations and academia with access to platform data.
  • The majority survey participants (88 %) indicated that the EU should be empowered to take a more active role in combating fake news/misinformation/politicization of information.