Surfing the net, more than half run into fake news

Ljubljana – Almost 90% of Slovenians aged 16-74 used the internet regularly in the first quarter of 2021, show data released by the Statistics Office on Thursday. When surfing the net, some 58% of them (912,340 users) encountered fake or dubious information on social media or news portals and 37% of them went on to check the facts.

Nearly 70% read online magazines or newspapers and content found on news websites, and 64% used social media to send messages and post photos or video. On the other hand, merely 12% shared their opinions on social and political issues online.

The statisticians warn that the rise in internet use is increasing the volume of fake news or questionable or false information and content.

Among those users of the internet who came across fake or dubious news in the January-March period, some 39% realised that the source of information was unreliable and 37% of them went on to check the facts to corroborate or dismiss the information. The share of those who did this was the largest in the 16-24 age group (54%) and the smallest in the 55-64 group (26%).

The remaining 63% of those who ran into fake or dubious news did not verify the information, mainly because, they said, they already knew the information or its source was unreliable (39%). Some 11% said they did not possess required skills to do that and 19% did not check the facts due to other reasons.

The share of those who used the internet regularly (89%) increased by 2% on the same period in 2020. Those aged 65-74 are still the least likely to surf the internet, but their share is increasing as the share of those who do not use the internet among them decreased from 44% to 31% year-on-year.

Asked why they are not using the internet, most said they did not need it or because it was not useful (56%). Almost 40% replied they were not interested in the internet, 28% said they lacked required skills, and 27% they were too old for this.

In the first quarter of this year, 93% of the Slovenian households had internet access.