Concern about misinformation on the internet

Growing concern about misleading information on the internet. File Photo.

The number of New Zealanders concerned about misinformation has increased significantly, a new study shows.

Of the New Zealanders surveyed 65 per cent say they are either extremely or very concerned about information that is misleading or wrong, up from 59 per cent in the previous year.

InternetNZ Chief Executive, Vivien Maidaborn, believes New Zealanders are right to be aware and worried about the rise of mis and disinformation.

"Internet users in Aotearoa deserve information that is accurate and not intended to mislead. This is a systemic issue, and there are multiple issues that the government needs to act on.

"The longer they leave it, the more New Zealanders will be harmed as a result," says Vivien.

Of the women surveyed, 68 per cent and 73 per cent of those aged 70+ were shown to be the groups most concerned, with Māori and Pasifika 60 per cent and 65 per cent respectively.

Vivien says that the perpetrators of mis and disinformation have shifted focus since the pandemic and now target marginalised groups within society.

"Since COVID, the key perpetrators of disinformation - people who spread wrong information purposefully - have worked to generalise their disinformation message from health to many other areas including the environment, parliamentary processes and democracy, race and racism."

People aged 18-29 were the least-concerned age group, but still registered a rate of 58 per cent either extremely or very concerned about information that is misleading or wrong.

The annual Internet Insights research encompasses a range of topics, including internet use, concerns, online safety, and Artificial Intelligence.

The full findings of the Internet Insights research is available on the InternetNZ website. 

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