False news, the pope condemns “toxic” sites that chase likes. Censis: 8 out of 10 Italians cheated every day, school and family can shop

“Sometimes and in some places, media sites have become places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news”: we have to “counter lies and misinformation”. Strong words are those spoken of Pope Francis against fake news.

Pope Francis: We need a critical sense

“The use of digital media, especially social media, raised a number of serious ethical issues,” the Holy Father repeated in a message to the World Congress of Catholic Communicators in Seoul.

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According to Pope Francis, “the need to help people, especially young people, a develop a critical sense, learn to distinguish true from falseright from wrong, good from evil ”.

The report Censis-Ital Communications

The pope’s words are married to the other Censis-Ital Communications annual report on good communication of the daily emergency, published a few days ago: research showed that the order of unpredictable emergencies generates a generalized demand for information, but also the fact that communication plays a fundamental role in the representation of reality and professionals in the sector are crucial to to reduce the risk of fake news. Therefore, we support the same concept that the Pope expressed.

The report shows that in the last year, 97.3% of Italians searched for news on all available sources, offline and online.

In particular, 41 million Italians received information on traditional media. In the two-year period 2019-2021, web users increased by 4.2 percentage points and make up 83.5% of the population.

Amount data

In view of this need, sufficient information does not agree. Because 83.4% say they have encountered fake news about the pandemic in the last two years and 66.1% in fake news about the war. Unjustified or changed news to raise, for example on social media, the number of likes.

The general feeling is that fake news is now around every corner of the web: 64.2% of respondents believe that during the emergencyto spectacularization and the desire to make the audience rather than information aimed at understanding the problems.

To defend against this information confusion, 45.5% of Italians turn to informal sources they trust the most, but it is often in these environments that fake news is produced and disseminated through postings, likes and mass sharing.

Influencers and professionals

The study also found that among the people the Italians trust, even as sources of information, there are influencer: 38.1% follow their views and analyzes on the war.

Also the “professionals” who guide companies and institutions in communication they are considered essential to combat fake news and misinformation: by 2021, there will be 4,445 communications and public relations agencies active, employing 8,290 professionals, at an average of about two employees for each agency.

Expert opinions to counter disinformation

According to Massimiliano Valerii, general manager of Censis“With Covid first, then with the war, the web and social networks have fully entered the information ecosystem and will remain so in the future. Information professionals need to take note of this and look for ways to positively impact the web that are and should remain an instrument of freedom and democratization ”.

Giuseppe Moles, Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister with responsibility for publication and information, he believes that “information must be defended as it represents a national interest, but it must not be processed. In this sense, the government’s commitment is to support the entire supply chain to respond to the challenges of a world that has changed profoundly. Disinformation can only be counteracted through cooperation between all actors in the system from kl families, schools and institutions“.

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