Fake news has spread so rapidly that only 48.2% of Americans are confident they can recognize false information on social media, according to a study by BonusFinder.com published for World Social Media Day on June 30.
Of the consumers polled, 46.3% admit they have fallen victim to fake news, 41.76% have believed a phony story, and 30.3% have shared information that later turned out to be false.
Men claim to be the least gullible in this regard: 62.13% say they can spot a fraud, versus 35.1% of women. Of non-binary/non confirming individuals, 33.33% say they can detect a fake.
But geography may be a more telling variable:. 87.5% of Oregonians confessed they would struggle to spot real information from false. Next were residents of Maryland and New Mexico (80%), Kansas (78.3%) and Missouri (75.8%).
In contrast, 76% of New Yorkers were confident in their ability to recognize fakes, followed by Nevada (67.3%) and Idaho (63.6%).
Age is another factor: 69% of millennials are confident in their fake-spotting abilities, along with 51.3% of Gen Z and 42.7% of Gen X.
The least confident are baby boomers (29%) and members of the silent generation (18.2%).
In another finding, 47.46% believe they can tell the difference between a real and a fake video on social media.
In general, people are more confident that they can find a controversial opinion on social media: 53.47% say they can. Drilling down, that includes 66.17% of men, 41.65% of women, 22.22% of the trans-gendered and 50% of non-binary.
On another front, 44.54% have had an argument with someone on social media, and 28.19% have done so with a celebrity.
“Conspiracies and misinformation are thriving in social media as the technologies advance faster than society’s understanding of them,” says Fintan Costello, managing director of BonusFinder.com.
“In the digital landscape where imagination runs wild and the line between fact and fiction gets increasingly blurred, it is more important than ever to learn to discern the fake information
from the truth."
BonusFinder.com surveyed 3,015 U.S. respondents.