Have an opinion on fake news? Get in touch!
Have an opinion on fake news? Get in touch!

Given the heightened awareness of fake news in recent months, you'd think more Brits would be able to tell the difference between fake and real news, but that isn't the case according to new research by McAfee.

The report's release says 86 percent of Brits claim they “would not be able to tell the difference between real and fake news,” this is particularly bad as McAfee says its research shows that the “majority” of Britons aged 18 and over “do not completely trust the information they read online.”

Even worse, the report says 70 percent of those questioned admit that they do not fact-check before they share information online. “This is perhaps unsurprising,” says Mcafee as, in the past year fake news is said to have impacted the outcome of the EU referendum, the US election, and the recent UK election.

Raj Samani, chief scientist and fellow at McAfee,  explains that the problem is not limited to individuals. Eighteen percent of UK respondents were warned by their employer about the dangers of fake news or manipulated data.

“If employees are not trained to spot untrustworthy sources, they could be putting the entire corporate network at risk and compromising the security of customers. It's crucial that businesses and individuals become more vigilant at fact-checking – whether that's a news source, an email or a seemingly personal social media message. Cyber-criminals are the masters of manipulating data,” says Samani.

Speaking of the individuals, Samani says, “We have seen instances of stolen and manipulated data being commissioned to assassinate characters and disrupt democracy. So close to the general election, it's concerning to see that the UK is so susceptible to fake news and manipulated data.”

Samani adds, “Sharing information that we do not 100 percent trust, without fact-checking is a dangerous practice. As well as fuelling the fake news fire, we could be inadvertently spreading malicious activity and supporting cyber-crime. Sites that peddle fake news are often behind cyber-attacks such as ransomware and phishing.”