Monthly Spotlight

Fact or Fiction: Singaporeans Worry About Fighting Fake News Online

About 9 in 10 Singaporeans (89%) wonder if the news they read online is “fake”

In March 2017, the National Environment Agency (NEA) came forward to debunk a message circulating online and on messaging applications such as WhatsApp that claims it issues a $200 fine for discarding used tissue into one’s bowl, plate or cup.

About 60% of Singaporeans paid attention to the fake story. A similar percentage of Singaporeans (61%) worry about reading fake news online a lot/sometimes.

Is ‘fake news’ online something that worries you a lot, some, a little, not at all?

 

With the growth in fake news preceding the Brexit and U.S. elections, a lot has been written about the phenomenon of unverified news stories online.

More non-Chinese Singaporeans polled are concerned about fake news “a lot” compared with Chinese Singaporeans – at 27 per cent versus 18 per cent. Fake news, which may result in individuals acting on false information, has the potential to strain ethnic and religious fault lines in Singapore’s multicultural society.

The findings also revealed a reputation gap between established traditional sources and newer media entrants.

These new outlets are viewed as more likely purveyors of fake news, with 2 in 5 Singaporeans indicating that they are sometimes ‘guilty’ of publishing misleading stories.

Average % of publications by type sometimes guilty of publishing ‘fake news’ or false/misleading stories

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