Voters fear manipulation by fake news | free press

A large majority of people in Germany are concerned that “fake news” could affect the federal election in September. Many are also concerned about the threat to democracy.

Düsseldorf (dpa) – Before the general election, a large majority of Germans fear attempted manipulation through “fake news”.

In a Forsa survey published on behalf of the NRW State Media Authority, 82 percent of those polled agreed with the statement, “I fear political disinformation campaigns will manipulate election results.”

82 percent also shared the view that political disinformation jeopardizes our democracy. Forsa had 3.-7. June 1005 German-speaking Internet users over the age of 14 polled online across the country.

According to the Federal Returning Officer, disinformation is demonstrably false or misleading information disseminated to influence or mislead the public. There is no central point for recognizing and correcting misinformation in Germany.

More than a third of respondents (36 percent) stated in the survey that they personally noticed attempts at political disinformation on the Internet. After that, however, only a few users became active: according to the survey, only about 16 percent of this group criticized the message in a reply or comment, which they considered manipulative, 15 percent reported the message or its author to the Internet portal.

The NRW-Medienanstalt expects that due to the corona pandemic a large part of the election campaign for the federal elections will be moved to the internet and that digital information will therefore be of particular importance. The state media authority is therefore following the election campaign very closely and is also planning a second investigation into election advertising and possible disinformation campaigns in the last phase before the election.

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