23 August 2017
New research released today by InternetNZ shows that almost two thirds of New Zealanders (64%) are concerned about the amount of misleading or wrong information available online - or as it is more commonly known - 'fake news.'
The research shows concern for fake news is up 13% since last year, the largest increase in concern from the 2016 results.
There has been a lot more global reporting of fake news in media over the past year. This may be a contributing factor in the rise of concern here in New Zealand.
InternetNZ annually commissions market research company UMR to conduct research on Kiwis' thoughts and attitudes to the Internet, including our hopes and fears of it.
InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter says with the rise of fake news hitting our screens it's good to know that Kiwis are aware it does exist.
"There are high volumes of non-factual stories coming from overseas sites so it's pleasing to see people are aware that some sites may be showing false information.
"We all need to take personal responsibility for what we digest and trust online," says Carter.
InternetNZ's research also shows that nearly three quarters of New Zealanders (74%) are concerned about cyber-bullying.
"We are spending more and more of our lives online and it's no surprise that Kiwis are concerned about possible negative effects online bullying can have on us and our children. It's positive to see organisations like Netsafe working hard to combat cyber-bullying in New Zealand."
Despite these concerns, there is overwhelming evidence that the Internet brings with it more good than bad and opens up new opportunities for all of us.
94% of New Zealanders use the Internet at least once a day and 88% say the positives of using the Internet outweigh the negatives.
When asked what the main benefits of the Internet are, 73% said access to information - showing the importance of every New Zealander being able to get online.
"It's encouraging to see that New Zealanders believe in the huge potential of the Internet. No New Zealander should be denied access to the benefits the Internet offers," says Carter.
InternetNZ will continue to fund this research each year to build a useful resource and determine trends over time.
More information: 2017 New Zealand perceptions of the Internet