A growing number of people view disinformation as a threat to national security.
A recent Pew Research study found that 70% of people in 19 countries surveyed view false information online as a major threat.
The study asked 25,000 people to rate their concerns about threats facing their countries—ranging from climate change to misinformation to the global economy.
- Climate change was the highest-rated concern, with 75% listing it as most serious.
- False information online followed closely behind at 70%.
Of the countries surveyed, Americans were among the most concerned about misinformation. Germans were more concerned, with 75% listing misinformation as a major threat. Out of surveyed Israelis however, only 42% thought misinformation was a major concern.
Americans were divided in their views by education, political tendencies, and age. Those with more education were more likely to say they were concerned about misinformation. Younger people and republicans were less likely to be concerned.
Why it’s news
As the midterm elections draw closer, misinformation is once again coming to the forefront of discussion. In previous election cycles, the spread of misinformation has caused distrust among voters on either side.
The presence of misinformation has only grown, in addition to political opponents using the term as a weapon against the other party.
Social-media sites are preparing for midterms, adding fact-checking measures and including resources for voters.
Not everyone is a fan of social-media sites deciding what’s false and what isn’t. When groups or individuals are banned from social media—like Bobby Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense just was—some applaud while others cite First Amendment violations.
There’s no easy solution to the misinformation debate. This election cycle will be telling when considering the effectiveness of fact checking measures.