Brazil Leads World in Fear of Fake News and WhatsApp Usage

Study highlighted the "atmosphere of polarization that happened last year during the elections

São Paulo

A new study revealed that in Brazil 85% of Internet users are worried about what is true and false news online. The United States isn't far behind, ranking seventh with France and Chile, all three with 67%.

Brazil also tops the list of countries where WhatsApp has become a "primary network for discussion and sharing of news." In Brazil, 53% using the news platform, followed by Malaysia (50%) and South Africa (49%).

FILE PHOTO: A logo of WhatsApp is pictured on a T-shirt REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File - REUTERS

The data are some of the "most important revelations," according to the authors, of the Reuters Journal's Digital Journalism Report of 2019, linked to Oxford University, released on Wednesday (12).

The research is based on a study that was completed by YouGov in 38 countries in January and February, listening through the internet to about two thousand people in each country. National results were aggregated using representative quotas by education, gender, and age.

The chapter on Brazil highlights an "atmosphere of polarization" in the electoral year, "culminating in the publication by Folha de S.Paulo" of a report that election campaigns shared messages via WhatsApp. "The next day, WhatsApp announced that it had banned more than 100,000 accounts in the previous weeks," notes the study.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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