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People more wary of others viewing Covid-19 fake news than themselves – survey

Concerns remain despite a fall in those reporting they have been exposed to misinformation about the virus.

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Consumption of news about coronavirus remains strong but has dropped off, the research found (Nick Ansell/PA)

Consumption of news about coronavirus remains strong but has dropped off, the research found (Nick Ansell/PA)

Consumption of news about coronavirus remains strong but has dropped off, the research found (Nick Ansell/PA)

People are more worried about the amount of coronavirus misinformation others are exposed to than themselves, a survey suggests.

Six in 10 Britons (60%) told Ofcom they are concerned about the potentially harmful information others may see online related to the virus, compared with just over a third of respondents (36%) who were concerned about their own consumption of such fake news.

It comes as 29% of respondents revealed they have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19 in the last week, down from a peak of 50% during the third and fifth week of lockdown.

Those who come across fake news did so fairly frequently, with more than six in 10 (62%) saying they had seen some at least once a day and one quarter (25%) a few times a week.

The regulator – which has spoken to 2,000 adults every week since lockdown was announced – found that claims linking 5G to the virus remain the most commonly seen piece of misinformation, although their prevalence has decreased over time.

Conspiracy theories about 5G have been a particular problem in the UK during the crisis, with dozens of mobile masts across the country subjected to attacks.

Elsewhere, consumption of news about coronavirus remains strong but has dropped off from 99% at the start of lockdown to 85%.

PA