Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Around three quarters (74%) of the people in North Macedonia that responded to the questions at the online poll for youngsters have answered they can recognize false news. Twenty-one percent (21%) have never thought that certain news is false, while the remaining 5% have responded that they cannot recognize false news.

The online polls for young people were carried out through and Studentaria’s Instagram profiles in the period between 15 and 21st of December and there were 605 respondents at the age between 15 and 30. We stress that it is not a poll of a representative specimen of the young people in North Macedonia.

The data shows that 50% of the respondents have responded that they aren’t checking the sources of information during the day, but if they accidentally come across any news, only then they will either read it or listen to it.

Accordingly, 32% of the people questioned have responded that several times they have believed in a piece of news that later was proven to be false. Almost half of them i.e. 47% don’t remember any such thing, while 12 % have denied that. A small percentage of the young people have at least once read a piece of news that was refuted afterward.

The respondents have mostly believed the false news about the coronavirus, the death or the divorce of a famous person, the news about the new Prime Minister being of Albanian nationality, or for false reporting of a certain event in order for an ethnic division to be caused among the population. Apart from this, they have believed that Putin is going to retire, that the vegetarians are immune to COVID-19, the news about the swans in Venice’s channels, information about space discoveries, that Hitler is still alive, etc.

The respondents consider that the false news is mostly shared to attract attention and more clicks, to increase the readability, to cause divisions in the society, including to enforce somebody’s agenda. But in order to check whether a piece of certain news is correct, the respondents mostly check the name of the source (the medium) in order to see whether the source is authentic, they check whether it was shared by more media portals, as well as whether the author’s name was stated in the articles. Part of them is consulting with someone to whom they trust whether he or she thinks the news is true or false.

Still, most of the respondents i.e. 93% aren’t aware of any fact-checkers in Macedonia that are confirming that certain news is false. Also, a high percentage i.e. 85% have never heard of 11% of respondents have heard about it, but have never read its articles.

95% don’t know any of the fact-checkers in other states in Europe or throughout the world that are uncovering false news i.e. they confirm that certain news is false.

Over half of the respondents i.e. 55 % use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as primary sources of information. 33% inform themselves through digital media that are present only on the Internet while only 6% use traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers) as sources of information. The remaining 5% receive information from the people around them (family, friends, colleagues).