Majority of Irish people encounter unreliable online content, survey finds

The study indicates a generational divide in skepticism, with 79% of younger adults (25 to 34) encountering “untrue” content compared to 45% of those aged 65 to 74.

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A recent survey by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveals that nearly two-thirds of Irish individuals identify online content as ‘untrue or doubtful.’ The study, encompassing social media platforms like X and Facebook, also highlights a crackdown on misinformation, with the European Commission initiating a legal investigation into X.

It also underscores a generational divide in skepticism towards online content, with 79% of younger adults (aged 25 to 34) reporting encounters with ‘untrue’ content, in contrast to 45% of individuals aged 65 to 74. Approximately 58% of respondents take steps to verify the ‘integrity’ of the information they come across, either by checking sources or engaging in discussions.

Moreover, the survey highlights variations in online behavior between age groups, such as older individuals being more likely to discuss suspicious content offline. In comparison, privacy concerns are more prevalent among younger individuals.

Why does it matter?

The survey highlights a significant lack of trust in online content among Irish individuals. Misinformation can seriously influence public opinion decision-making and even contribute to societal divisions. Speaking at the 50th-anniversary conference of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned that misinformation and divisive politics pose a growing threat to social solidarity and evidence-based policymaking in the Republic, potentially leading to increased polarisation.