Poll: Canadians are Concerned About Fake News, Want Government to Step Up

For some, hearing the words ‘fake news” sends a stark, cold shiver up the spine. While the term’s origins can be debated, some would argue that U.S. President Donald Trump popularized it.

Of late, the words ‘fake news’ have been used to discredit serious issues that need real attention, to shutdown stories that frame someone in an unflattering manner, or, to improve influence and achieve financial gain.

As a result, certain media outlets face an uphill battle when it comes to proving the legitimacy of their work, while some citizens struggle to determine which news they can trust.

Fake News - Poll

According to a recent study conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a high percentage of Canadians “are concerned that fake news is making it more difficult to find accurate sources of information.” What’s more, those surveyed think the government needs “to do something about it.”

Results revealed that 82% of Canadians either agreed, or somewhat agreed “the prevalence of false information designed to appear legitimate is making it more difficult to find accurate news.” Another 17% of Canadians disagreed.

In terms of whether the government should intervene “to prevent the proliferation of fake news,” 72% of Canadians agreed, or somewhat agreed that this should happen. On the other side of the scale, 23% disagreed, or somewhat disagreed, with this perspective.

Fake News - Poll

Speaking of the Canadian government, 52% of those surveyed think that institution is not transparent enough about the work it’s doing.

“This is a clear message to governments that Canadians are concerned about the effect of fake news on our democracy,” said Tom Henheffer, CJFE Vice President. “Canadians believe the federal government should do more to combat fake news, and they believe one way to do that is for the government to become more transparent itself.”

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” Marissa Semkiw was joined by seasoned journalists and digital news newcomers to explore the recent phenomenon of ‘fake news’. You can watch this episode below.