Misleading

Users say they regularly encounter false and misleading content on social media – but also new ideas

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Social media use has increased in emerging and developing nations in recent years. And, across the 11 emerging economies surveyed for this report, a median of 28% of adults say social media are very important for helping them keep up with political news and other developments happening in the world.

Pluralities of social media users in most countries find the information they get on these platforms to be more up to date, informative and focused on issues important to them than what they get from other sources. Large majorities of social media users in most countries also say they regularly see articles and other content that introduce them to new ideas.

At the same time, opinions are divided when it comes to the reliability, bias and hateful nature of social media content when compared with other sources. And when asked about the kinds of material they encounter on these sites, majorities in most countries report at least occasionally seeing content that seems obviously false or untrue or that makes them feel negatively about groups different from them. Across almost all these measures, those who say social media are very important sources of political information see these platforms in different – and often more extreme – terms than other social media users.

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