The Estonian population is the least critical of the dangers of fake news in the European Union, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey.
The survey, published by the European Commission, was the first on fake news and disinformation, examining two current issues – the trust in media channels and the awareness of fake news among EU citizens, as well as their influence.
The Estonian people are among the most trusting when it comes to the media in the European Union. The majority of Estonian people trust the radio (87% of people, while the EU average is 78%); social media and communication applications are trusted the least (52%; 36% in the EU). There is a clear tendency to trust classical media channels more than web-based channels in Estonia and in the EU in general.
Estonians less likely to encounter fake news – according to themselves
At the same time, it turned out that in their own opinion, Estonian people are less likely to come across fake news than the residents of most other EU countries. Only slightly more than half (54%) of Estonian people come across fake news at least once a week; in the EU, it is two-thirds of the population (68%). Only the Lithuanian and Finnish people are less likely to recognise fake news, compared with Estonians.
In addition, the respondents were asked how confident they were in their ability to recognise fake news. Nearly two thirds (64%) of the Estonian people found they were able to distinguish fake news, with the EU average being 71%. Danish residents are the most confident, with 87% considering themselves capable of recognising fake news.
“Nearly two thirds of the Estonian people found they were able to distinguish fake news.”
When asked about the dangers of fake news, people in Estonia were less critical than other people in the EU. About three quarters (74%) consider fake news a problem for democracy. This figure is higher in all other EU countries with the EU average being 83%. Cyprus (89%), Spain (88%) and Greece (87%) had the highest percentages of people who considered fake news a problem for democracy.
The study was conducted by the international research company, Kantar TNS, at the request of the European Commission. The sample of the survey carried out on 7-9 February comprised 26,576 people aged 15 and above.