A little over half of young Filipinos can spot fake news, according to a study conducted by Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) led Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat, at Siyensya para sa Pilipinas, or BOSES Pilipinas.

However, the same study stated that this runs contrary to the perception of these respondents that they are “somewhat confident in identifying fake news.”

The data showed 52.5 percent of youth respondents only got six to eight correct answers or an average score of 6.9 in a 10-item fake news quiz but 63 percent of the respondents said they are somewhat confident in identifying fake news.

“There is a big mismatch between the students’ perceived ability in identifying fake news from real news, and their actual performance in the face of fake news. This means, their confidence did not translate to their ability when they answered the quiz,” BOSES Pilipinas convenor Imelda Deinla said in a news statement.

The study featured a novel fake news quiz that is composed of Facebook posts containing shared photos with quotes supposedly attributed to selected Cabinet members of the current administration.

The students were asked to classify the quote in the photo as true or false. BOSES Pilipinas used snowball sampling, a non-probability survey sampling technique.

While the majority of respondents were somewhat confident in identifying fake news, these respondents only scored an average of 6.9 on the 10-item fake news quiz.

The results also showed that only 23 percent said they are very confident and scored an average of 7.2 out of 10.

Further, 13 percent said they are not very confident and scored an average of 6.5 out of 10, while 1 percent said they are not confident at all and scored an average score of 5.7 out of 10.

“Overall, we can conclude based on these figures that our students only have average skills in identifying fake news,” Deinla said.

Voting and Facebook

The study also examined the relationship between the ability of respondents to spot real news and their likelihood to vote in the coming elections.

The results showed that 72 percent who said they will “definitely vote” in 2022 showed the highest ability in recognizing real news from fake news with an average score of 7 out of 10.

The data also showed that 1 percent or 215 respondents, said they will not vote in 2022 and scored an average of 6.3 out of the 10-item fake news quiz.

“This means that those who are politically engaged—especially those intent on voting, would actively seek a variety of good information, and are therefore more likely seeking real news. However, those who are good at detecting fake news are not necessarily the ones very keen on voting,” Deinla explained.

“This also means that seeing or seeking real news can stimulate political awareness and engagement. Detecting fake news by itself, has no effect on political engagement, unless this is accompanied by seeing real news,” she added.

Meanwhile, respondents who regarded the social-media platform Facebook as trustworthy were more likely to score lower in the fake news quiz.

Based on the data, only 2 percent or 384 respondents find Facebook as a very trustworthy source of information. The same respondents only scored 5.7 out of the 10-item fake news quiz.

In contrast, 26 percent or 6,388 respondents who find Facebook as an untrustworthy source of information showed the highest ability in recognizing fake news from real news, with an average score of 7.2 out of 10.

More than 20,000 students eligible to vote in 2022 took part in the Pinoy Voters’ Vibe (PVV): Youth Edition surveys conducted from August 23, 2021 to September 24, 2021 through 25 partner colleges and universities across the country.

Deinla said that this was already the second round of PVV surveys. She explained that the results of the second round confirm the results of the first round, which somewhat showed very similar findings.

The first round of PVV surveys were conducted from May 17, 2021 to June 24, 2021 and involved 7,744 respondents through 18 universities and colleges.

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