Press release №2167
18.04.2019
FAKE NEWS: EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM

IN BRIEF

  • Over the recent two years 31% have encountered unreliable information on the Internet
  • 20%, on television
  • 74% of those who encountered fake stories in mass media say they were published deliberatel

MOSCOW, April 18, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the findings of a study on whether Russians came across fake news in traditional mass media and on the Internet, and whether they can determine the trustworthiness of the news.  

Over the last year or two 31% of Russians have come across fake news; respondents with higher education diplomas report so more often (38%). Every fifth Russian (20%) encountered fake news on television (26% of respondents with higher education diplomas). A further 7% came across stories which did not constitute the reality in newspapers; 5%, on the radio. However, 47% of Russians have not encountered fake news over the last year or two (71% of persons with certificates of incomplete secondary education and 38% of those with higher education diplomas).

Most of respondents (62%) who encountered fake stories in mass media and on the Internet felt from the very beginning that something was wrong; this share is higher among respondents living in St Petersburg and Moscow (74%). However, one-third (31%) was sure in the beginning that the information was true and it was only later that they found out it was fake (42% of rural area residents).

Seventy-four percent of those who saw fake stories in mass media and online think that they were published deliberately (84% of the 35-44-year-olds). They are opposed by 17% of respondents saying that most of fake stories were published unintentionally or mistakenly by the journalists. Most of those who think so are young respondents (26% of the 18-24-year-olds).  

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on April 16, 2019. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

 

Over the last year or two, have you personally encountered the news in mass media or on the Internet which subsequently turned out to be fake? If yes, where did you encounter that? (closed-ended question, up to 5 answers, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Incomplete secondary education Secondary education Specialized secondary education   Incomplete higher, higher  education
No, I have not 47 71 57 52 38
Yes, on the Internet 31 16 23 29 38
Yes, on television 20 12 15 16 26
Yes, in newspapers (print media) 7 8 6 5 9
Yes, on the radio 5 2 4 3 7
Yes, in other sources   1 0 1 1 2
Don’t know 8 3 7 9 10

 

When you saw/heard such news, did you know from the beginning that the information was wrong, or did the news seem trustworthy to you in the beginning and it was only later that you found out it was fake? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who encountered fake news in mass media and on the Internet)
  % of those who encountered fake news in mass media and on the Internet  Moscow and St Petersburg Million cities More than 500 ths 100–500 ths Less than 100 ths Rural area
I felt from the beginning something was wrong 62 74 62 52 65 61 55
First I believed and it was only later that I found out I was fake   31 23 33 31 26 31 42
Don’t know 7 3 5 17 9 8 3

 

Let us talk about well-known stories which turned out to be fake. In your opinion, were most of those untrustworthy stories published deliberately or unintentionally? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who encountered fake news in mass media and on the Internet)
  % of those who encountered fake news in mass media and on the Internet  Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and more
In most of cases the stories were published deliberately 74 69 79 84 76 63
In most of cases the stories were published accidentally, by an unintentional mistake made by journalists or editors 17 26 16 9 14 22
Don’t know 9 5 5 7 10 15

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!

  Results of our study
  Ratings
  In focus
  News