A new survey suggests Canada is concerned about the development of false news, but they are not necessarily equipped to stop it from spreading.
The poll of Historica Canada, the organization behind Canadian Heritage Minutes, surveyed Canada on the state of the news media and their own capacity to distinguish fact from opinion.
The result is full of contradictions: 88 percent of respondents were concerned about the quality of information circulating online, but 61 percent said public concern over false news was excessive.
More than half of survey participants admitted to either read or share a story which later proved to be inaccurate or outdated.
Historica said 69 percent of survey respondents believe that they could distinguish between facts and opinions, but only 12 percent got a perfect score when asked to classify six test statement included in the poll.
Approximately 86 percent of the suggested media literacy should be required for students learning Canada, which saw Historica CEO Anthony Wilson-Smith as a sign of Canada realize the complexity of the problem.
“There is a very big appetite and effort to follow the news,” says Wilson-Smith, citing the fact that 94 percent of survey participants admitted to staying on top of current events. “People clearly understand the importance of recognizing what is happening in the world. What is less clear is the extent to which people think about the truth of the stories they read. ”
Wilson-Smith said the survey showed most respondents follow at least one basic rule that the right search information by turning to a variety of sources for their daily news. Approximately 76 percent of the participants seemed to traditional outlets such as print or television, while 70 percent turn to online sources, and the majority of respondents said they were appealing to both.
However, the figures also show that the survey participants struggled to sort the wheat from the chaff in the sources are diverse.
The poll found 56 percent of respondents admitted to reading or sharing news reports are inaccurate, while 45 percent indicated that they had a right to enter and dubious reports circulated by others.
Wilson-Smith said the most disturbing findings of the survey was a struggle to distinguish fact from opinion, especially given the tendency of survey participants to overestimate their own abilities.
Historica includes six statements as part of a poll and asks participants to identify which category they fall into.
When presented with a sentence such as “Vimy Ridge is the most important moment in Canadian history,” for example, only 41 percent were able to correctly classify it as a statement of opinion.
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When faced with the sentence “The Montreal Canadians have won more Stanley Cups than any other team in the NHL,” only 54 percent were able to identify as a factual statement.
Only 12 percent of survey respondents were able to give the correct classification for all of these six tests, while five percent failed to get a single right.
The survey also found that respondents under the age of 55 are more intelligent than the older news consumers. About 45 percent of the respondents of that age group had at least four questions right compared with 33 percent of those over 55.
The online survey of 1,000 respondents conducted by Ipsos on behalf of The Historica between 23 August and 26.
professional polling agency industry, the Association of Marketing Research and Intelligence, said online surveys can not be assigned a margin of error because they are not a random sample and therefore not necessarily representative of the entire population.
Wilson-Smith recognizes the ability to break down the false news of the real thing is more complex than just being able to tell fact from fiction, noted that the choice of language in contrast to news reports can frame the same set of facts in a very different light.
He said the survey findings should serve as a warning both to media and news consumers. Journalists should take care and consideration in their coverage, he said, while they read or see their work should actively seek out a variety of sources to make sure they hear many perspectives as possible.
“Reporting, such as current events themselves, is rarely black and white,” he said.
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