85% of UK think creating fake news should be illegal

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New research from digital identity security specialists, ID Crypt Global, reveals that an overwhelming majority of the UK public believe those who create and spread fake news should have their social media accounts banned, with 85% also believing that it should be made illegal.

The survey of 1,121 members of the UK public, commissioned by ID Crypt Global, looked at concerns over the rise of fake news and mass disinformation and the repercussions that should be implemented in order to tackle it.

The survey reveals that 73% of people report being concerned about the growing threat of fake news and disinformation that is spreading through social media. Due to this concern, 93% say more must be done to flag social media posts that contain fake news as to avoid them being widely spread. In terms of identifying who is most responsible for stemming the flow of fake news, 73% of people think it’s the social media platforms who need to take charge; 17% say it’s down to the news providers whose stories are being falsified; and 11% say it’s the job of the government. 

On this point, ID Crypt Global is in disagreement with most of the UK public, believing that it’s the job of news outlets, not social media platforms, to ensure that fake news is stopped at the source and therefore impossible to spread. That’s why ID Crypt Global has created its leading Authenticated Media Protection (AMP) product, which creates an invisible cryptographic watermark that can be used to validate videos, photos, and other relevant media. A news or picture agency can embed their true images with this watermark and if the image is ever tampered with or doctored, it will be automatically flagged to everyone who sees it. 

Once fake news has been flagged, there is almost universal agreement that it should then be taken out of circulation with 93% of people saying it should be immediately removed from social media platforms. From there, 94% of people believe that accounts which are discovered to be peddling fake news should be immediately removed and banned from social media platforms. 

When asked whether there should be more serious consequences for the people behind the accounts that are distributing fake news, 97% say ‘yes’, and 85% go so far as to say creating and distributing fake news should be made illegal. Meanwhile, 63% of people say that the act of sharing existing fake news should also be illegal, even if those sharing it aren’t the original creator. 

CEO and Founder of ID Crypt Global, Lauren Wilson-Smith, commented:

“There is no appetite for fake news. It is not something that the people want. So anyone who is creating and distributing fake news is doing so for selfish or nefarious purposes which society simply cannot stand for. Our research shows just how seriously people feel about fake news, with a majority believing it is a crime against society and should therefore be punishable by law. 

We at ID Crypt are not here to speak for that kind of societal change, but we very much believe that news and picture agencies should be doing everything they possibly can to make it impossible for such individuals or groups to falsify the images, videos, and stories they publish.

Yes, social media platforms have a role to play, but we believe that the best way to tackle fake news is to kill it at the source before it even gets a chance to be circulated. That’s why we launched our Authentic Media Protection program (AMP) to enable legitimate news sources to safeguard the content they create prior to release, while also providing them with an indisputable way of confirming if an image has been tampered with.”

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