47 Percent Of Americans Don’t Believe Deepfakes Could Target Them

Social media and online platforms are now cracking down on fake news.

As consumer trust in online information continues to erode, a new study illustrates people’s growing concerns. How do we know whom to trust online? And how will this affect the election results in 2020?

WhoIsHostingThis recently surveyed over 980 Americans to learn how people sift through unreliable information online and how trust in online platforms differs when it comes to political affiliation.

Whom Do We Trust?

One of the most surprising findings in the study was that news outlets and reporters were less trusted than actual scammers.

Nearly 22% of respondents were concerned that news outlets and reporters utilized deception online. Even well-established sites were believed about 30% of the time.

Internet users should be overly cautious when surfing the web. While 56.3% of online users were trusted to share “trustworthy” information, over 40% were perceived to spread false information intentionally.

Online platforms like social networks are also currently under the microscope for misinformation. Problems such as not fact-checking political ads or statements made by politicians were among the largest discrepancies currently discussed online.

Based on political affiliation, 81.8% of liberals trusted information when they read it directly on news sites, while only 48.1% of conservatives agreed.

The smallest trust gaps between political affiliations involved the government, Wikis, and social media, with social media being the least trusted overall.

The 2020 Election

With fact-checking a prevalent issue, some worry that misinformation on social media and news outlets might affect the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump has even mentioned that his supporters tend to follow him more when he refers to the press as an “enemy of the people” and “fake news.”

Fake news refers to the false stories that are spread by different platforms to influence political views.

However, liberals and conservatives disagreed when it came to which media platform was responsible for spreading fake news. Nearly 52% of liberals said social media users were the most responsible, while conservatives said news outlets and reporters were the most responsible for questionable reporting.

Over 80% of liberals and conservatives believed fake news would be used in the 2020 election, though, and more than 60% of Americans believed that deepfakes would be used in the 2020 election.

Seeking Truth in AI

Deepfakes, or artificial intelligence-based technology used to produce or alter video, photo, and audio content, have been raising worry on the web. Over 88% of Americans said they think deepfakes can do more harm than good.

Recent outbreaks of deepfakes have even shown how difficult or even impossible it is to differentiate real content from fake news. Anything can be altered, from fake bank statements to presidential claims.


Nearly 1 in 4 Americans believed deepfake videos could be used as false evidence in criminal trials. However, over 47% of Americans didn’t believe a deepfake video could be made of them.

Most of those who spotted deepfakes online were usually showed celebrities and public figures, as 44% of YouTube users said they had seen at least one deepfake on the platform. These AI videos are raising ethical concerns, as well. The findings showed over 1 in 10 men believed deepfaking should be “mostly legal with few restrictions.”

Real Relationships

Aside from social media and online dating sites, catfishing (falsifying your online identity and luring someone in a relationship) has been a popular topic when it comes to deception online.

More than 1 in 10 people we surveyed reported being catfished before and although there may be emotional scarring when it comes to forging appearances online, more than 1 in 6 people had pretended to be someone they were not online.

Additionally, respondents noted the top ways they discovered they were catfished. Over 43% said the pictures on the catfish’s profile belonged to someone else. Another 39% said they realized when the catfish wouldn’t meet in person and 29% said they realized the catfish used a fake name.

The online dating community is on the rise and with the introduction of many new dating sites like Chispa and FB Dating, there might also be an increase in catfishes. Overall when dealing with profiling online, it’s important to consider safety when speaking with people on the internet and engaging in real-world meetups.

Staying Safe

So who should we trust online? Anyone can share, host, or report information online. As it becomes easier to reach more people, though, it’ll be difficult to determine the accuracy of online information going forward.

Regardless of how you surf the internet, it’s important to fact-check, take trending news stories with a grain of salt, and keep in mind that deepfakes, political misinformation, and catfishes exist. Being extra cautious and navigating the news and dating world with foresight can help. The internet is a risky place, and Americans need to remain alert to dodge deception.

Dodging Deception & Seeking Truth Online

Featured photo: AP

Read next: Facebook Struggling to Find a Way to Identify Deepfakes on its Platform

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