Majority of social media users notice uptick in fake news during pandemic

Baby Boomers account for the biggest rise in online news consumption
Image: Stockfresh

3 September 2020

More than two-thirds (67%) of social media users have noticed an increase in fake news being circulated online since the start of the pandemic, according to Irish survey by Censuswide on behalf of Pure Telecom. It comes amidst a sharp rise in online activity globally, with Pure Telecom reporting a 30% increase in internet traffic since mid-March when the first wave of restrictions was announced in Ireland.

Furthermore, 56% of adults in Ireland are now consuming more online news since the outbreak of Covid-19. That percentage is significantly higher for Baby Boomers, with 67% saying they are now getting more of their news from online publications.

Social media use is also up considerably, with 53% saying they have been using social media platforms more. At 62%, Gen Y counts for the greatest increase in social media use. More than a quarter (26%) of adults, meanwhile, have been listening to a greater number of podcasts.




Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom, said: “Our reliance on online services has been heightened since the start of the pandemic. We all want to get instant updates on the spread and containment of the virus and that has led to a significant increase in online news consumption. Usually, it’s the younger generations driving the move to digital, so it is interesting that the Baby Boomer generation has seen the biggest rise in online news consumption. Given the increased appetite for online news, our research highlights the importance of ensuring that we are all getting our information from reliable, trusted sources.

“The Covid-19 restrictions were – and are continuing to be – hard on us all, so it’s not surprising that more of us have been resorting to social media. It is allowing us to stay connected and maintain some sense of social activity and normality at a time that has been extremely stressful for everyone.

“While we all look forward to attending celebrations and gatherings again, it is clear that the online world is going to play an even greater role in our lives even after Covid-19. At Pure Telecom, we understand the central role that internet connectivity has played in the last six months and have been working round the clock to ensure we are keeping our customers connected online, and to each other, throughout.”

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