68 per cent of the British public are at least ‘somewhat’ concerned that ‘fake news’ could influence the upcoming UK general election on 8 June.
According to a recent poll of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by independent switching site Broadband Genie with polling specialist OnePoll, 50.6 per cent of British people have seen what they believe to be fake news, with 38.6 per cent unsure if they had seen any or not. Worryingly, only 12.2 per cent were ‘very confident’ in their ability to spot fake news.
“It’s concerning such a significant number believe fake news will have some influence on the election,” said Rob Hilborn, head of strategy at Broadband Genie. “With Brexit, the American presidential election and the recent French election fresh in the memory of the public, people are obviously aware of the power and prevalence of fake news.”
Of those surveyed, 42 per cent believe that fake news influenced the EU referendum, while nine per cent said they thought fake news had the potential to change their own vote in the upcoming election.
16.5 per cent believe the Conservatives would be most likely to benefit from fake news, with Labour at 14.7 per cent and UKIP at 13.5 per cent. Meanwhile, 22.3 per cent think Labour will be most negatively affected.
The figures show the importance of Google and Facebook’s recent work to fight the fake news problem. Both tech giants have introduced tools and updated the way they operate in order to mke sure only legitimate news reaches users.
The work of the two companies is important as 33 per cent of those surveyed said they check Google regularly for news, while 27 check Facebook.