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Most Canadians still struggling to identify fake online content, new poll finds

Last Updated Oct 15, 2019 at 9:00 am PST

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Summary

New poll by Research Co. finds majority of Canadians still struggling to identify fake content online

Seven in 10 Canadian social media users have trouble discerning which accounts belong to real people, poll finds

Most of those polled say 'anonymous' social media accounts should be banned as a way to combat fake news

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As political campaigns drift further into online spaces, it seems many of us are still having trouble identifying fake content on social media.

A new poll by Research Co. finds a majority of Canadians surveyed would welcome some kind of crackdown.

Some of the biggest platforms have promised to do better in handling this issue, but we’ve recently seen Facebook take a big step back.

Up until last month, the site strictly prohibited “deceptive, false, or misleading,” content in its ads policy, but that language has since disappeared. Now all speech from politicians is considered newsworthy, even if it’s an obvious lie.

In this context, Research Co. found that seven in 10 Canadian social media users have trouble discerning which accounts belong to real people, and two-in-five say they have found links to stories on current affairs that were obviously false.

When it comes to who was better at figuring out what was real or not, women came out ahead of men, but only slightly — 48 per cent to 44 per cent.

Most of those polled say “anonymous” social media accounts should be banned and that politicians should not be allowed to block users from engaging with them.

“While this may be a particularly problematic regulation for those who are unable to comment on issues on account of their jobs or positions, the numbers clearly show that Canadians are getting tired of acrimonious messages that arrive in their feed from someone with no name and no face,” Research Co. President Mario Canseco writes.