New Zealanders increasingly concerned about online conspiracy theories – survey

These concerns extend to other aspects of the internet as well, with two-thirds of respondents being extremely or very concerned about misinformation on the web.

The use of the internet as a forum for extremist content and hate speech was of concern to 65% of respondents in the survey, up from 58% last year.

“Rising levels of concern stand out this year and are certainly worrying,” said InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter.

“The concerns New Zealanders are feeling underscores the urgent need to improve our online experience.

“We face major challenges online – many of which have broader themes of misinformation and hate – and we must come together to try to solve them.”

Carter said it’s not just those in Aotearoa who face the problem, but he believes the country can show international leadership to overcome the challenges.

Research shows that concerns about personal safety online are also rising, with 66% of respondents choosing to use at least one online service for security or privacy reasons, an increase of eight percentage points from to last year.

“With the internet being a lifeline for many of us during the global pandemic – while online is often the only way to connect with others, earn a living, pay bills and shop. necessary – the privacy and security of personal information becomes of fundamental importance,” says Carter.

Despite these trust and security issues, 86% said the advantages of the Internet outweighed the disadvantages.

“It shows us that New Zealanders still recognize and appreciate the benefits the internet offers,” he said.

“But with so many people using the internet and the growing necessity it has become to function in today’s society, it is more important than ever that we mitigate online risk.”

According to the research, the main concerns of respondents were children’s access to inappropriate material online, cyberbullying and the security of personal data.

Other results include an increase in the number of New Zealanders using the three main social media platforms daily compared to 2021 and almost half of those able to work from home (46%) would move elsewhere if they could move their job current.

InternetNZ uses proceeds from the sale of .nz domain names to support the development of the Internet in New Zealand through policy, community grants, research and more.

The survey was conducted in November 2021 and has a maximum margin of error of 3.1%.

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