A new pan India survey by Ipsos India on Social Media and Fake News, shows citizens are deeply concerned about the risks posed by increasing usage of social media platforms, and some of the top concerns emerging included, fake news and misinformation (52%), cybercrime and fraud (46%) and identity theft (34%). Apart from these glaring risks, the survey also identified some of the other hazards of social media bingeing on citizens that had psychological ramifications like depression (31%), social anxiety (28%) and cyberbullying (22%).
Commenting on the findings of the survey, Parijat Chakraborty, Group Service Line Leader, Public Affairs and Corporate Reputation said, “Fake News and misinformation has a dangerous fallout ; it can stir up trouble, rip apart reputations and misguide, leading to unnecessary prejudice. And given the nature and penetration of social media, it can go viral and can lead to rabble rousing, it definitely is the biggest drawback of social media usage and consumption. The Cyber Security Wing has been working overtime to bring justice to cybercrime victims, with criminals constantly adopting new ways of duping online. Identity Threats are real and have been used to extort monies using fake profiles of eminent individuals. Likewise, cyberbulling is real. Social Media is increasingly becoming highly polarized, instead of a relaxing, fun place for social interactions.”
Interestingly, Indian citizens believe that the spread of fake/ news will need to be a collective effort: by citizens themselves (80%), media/ journalists (74%), govt. (72%), police/ law enforcement agencies (71%), messaging app companies (69%), telecom companies/ service providers like Jio, AirTel, VodafoneIdea (68%) and NGO/ Activists (60%). These views were endorsed most by citizens residing in North and West India.
“While citizens can act responsibly by double checking on what they read without blindly belieiving, all credible sources mentioned, like media, govt, police, messaging companies can issue warning, when they read malicious content online which is fake. That itself can stem the issue from brimming over,” stated Chakraborty.
Ipsos India conducted a quantitative study using a structured questionnaire among 2935 citizens across the metros, tier 1,2 & 3 towns from SEC A, B & C households via face to face interviews using tablets (computer aided personal interviewing – CAPI) and online interviews. The survey also had quotas by specialist target groups of employed, homemakers, retired, unemployed, self-employed and students. The margin of error was +/-5% with 95% accuracy levels.