Who is afraid of fake news? Modeling risk perceptions of misinformation in 142 countries

12 April 2022

Misinformation Review

Knuutila, A., Neudert, L.-M., Howard, P. N. (2022). Who is afraid of fake news? Modelling risk perceptions of misinformation in 142 countries. Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Misinformation Review. https://doi.org/10.37016/mr-2020-97

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Using survey data from 154,195 respondents in 142 countries, we investigate internet user perceptions of the risks associated with being exposed to misinformation. We find that: 1) The majority of regular internet users globally (58.5%) worry about misinformation, and young and low-income groups are most likely to be concerned. 2) Risk perception among internet users varies starkly across regions whereby concern is highest in Latin America and the Caribbean (74.2%), and lowest in South Asia (31.2%). 3) Differences are unrelated to the prevalence of misinformation, yet concern is highest in countries with liberal democratic governments. We discuss implications for successful policy and platform interventions.