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60% of web users can detect false information
Pic: Shutterstock

06 Dec 2021 / technology Print

60% of web users can detect false information

Over 60% of internet users have read online content that they considered untrue or doubtful, new CSO statistics show.

Of those, nearly two-thirds (64%) checked the veracity of what they read, while almost two-thirds (65%) of internet users aged 30-59 refused use of their personal data for advertising purposes, compared with just 42% of those aged 16-29.

Nearly six in every ten (59%) internet users restricted access to their geographical location in 2021, but fewer than four in ten internet users (37%) read privacy policy statements when providing personal information.

Almost three quarters (74%) of internet users knew that cookies could be used to trace their online activity. A total of 40% changed privacy ‘sliders’ to prevent or limit tracking, while nearly three in ten (28%) used software to limit cookies.

Internet users were less likely, however, to limit access to their profile or content on social networking sites or shared online storage, with just under half (47%) of internet users limiting such access.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today published the first of three publications on the results of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey, which was carried out in Q1 and Q2 of 2021, which examines internet security and privacy, and the protection of personal data.

Statistician Maureen Delamere said: "In 2021, we are online more than ever, working from home and relying on technology and digital services.


“Our everyday lives are becoming far more digital, and we are exposed to a very large amount of information, some of which is true, some of which is clearly untrue, and some of which requires further evaluation and investigation.

“In 2021, more than six in ten (62%) internet users saw information or content (including videos and images) on online news sites or social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc) that they considered doubtful or untrue – of which almost two-thirds (64%) checked the truthfulness of the content.” 

Respondents to the survey could chose more than one option to verify information seen online, she added.

A full 47% discussed the information offline with others, while some 15% took part in online discussion regarding the content. 

For those who did not check the truthfulness of content they saw online, the most common reason (80%) was that they already knew the information content or source was unreliable.

Personal information

Websites that collect personal information require a privacy policy statement, but only 37% of internet users read them before providing personal information online.

Similarly, even though everyone has the right to access the digital personal data collected by websites or search-engine administrator or providers, just 6% of internet users requested access to their online personal data to update or delete it.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland