Disinformation on social media threatens “scientific credibility,” the report said

British confidence in science is at its highest level since the Covid pandemic, a new report reveals – but disinformation on social media continues to be a “threat to scientific credibility”.

The 3M Science Scoreboard, released on Tuesday, reveals that 90% of UK residents trust science in 2022, compared to 85% in 2019.

This statistic is also compared to 88% of Europeans and 89% of people in the world who trust science in 2022.

In the United Kingdom, 57% of Britons say they are now more appreciative of science after the pandemic, probably due to scientists’ efforts to develop vaccines against Covid.

However, misinformation is “widespread” on social media and threatens the future of public understanding of science, the report said.

If the public cannot trust science news, the consequences could include more public health crises, greater divisions in society and more severe consequences of climate change.

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Britain’s confidence in science is strong, but disinformation on social media platforms threatens “scientific credibility”, the new report says (photo file)

According to the results, 90% of Britons say they trust science, and 87% trust scientists

According to the results, 90% of Britons say they trust science, and 87% trust scientists

KEY FINDINGS

– 90 percent of Britons say they trust science, and 87 percent trust scientists.

– This is an increase compared to 85% confidence in science and 83% confidence in scientists in 2019, before the pandemic.

– 57 percent are more grateful to the scientific community after the pandemic.

– 71% of Britons trust science-based facts in traditional news. That trust drops to 27 percent for science-based facts on social media.

– 47% of Britons think it is too difficult to know which media sources are reliable.

– 78 percent of Britons want to hear more from scientists about their work.

In terms of scientific facts, people are more likely to trust traditional media, such as newspapers and magazines, than social media, 3M said.

The results show that scientists can help with scientific credibility online by increasing their presence on social media, according to the company.

“There is an excellent opportunity to unite as a scientific community and to be the guardians of good science, directly engaging the public to help fight the spread of misinformation,” said Sarah Chapman, 3M Technical Manager for Europe, Middle East. and Africa.

“These data show us that the door is open for the use of scientific knowledge to educate the public on the most important issues of the day, from climate change through the development of vaccines to artificial intelligence.”

The study was conducted for 3M by global research firm Ipsos through a combination of online and offline research.

The survey was conducted last fall with 1,000 adults in 17 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the UK, 90% of respondents say they trust science, and 87% say they trust scientists.

Globally, the results are only slightly different – 89% say they trust science, and 86% say they trust scientists.

READ THE FULL RESULTS

– Navigate to the interactive page of the 3M State of Science Index

– Click the Data Research tab.

– For each topic, filter the results by region by clicking “Countries”

– You can also filter the results by age, gender, income, etc.

However, where exactly people read or hear about science really matters when it comes to trusting what they read, the results showed.

People are more likely to trust traditional media (eg newspapers) than social media for science, but their trust in traditional media is not absolute.

Only 71% of UK residents trust science-based facts in the traditional media. That trust has dropped to just 27% for science-based facts on social media.

The main reason why respondents in the UK indicated this distrust is that it is too difficult to understand which media sources are reliable (47%).

On a positive note, 78% of people in the UK said they wanted to hear more from scientists about their work.

In Europe, this is slightly higher (79 percent) and much higher worldwide (83 percent).

These statistics show scientists that they have the opportunity to “communicate more directly on traditional and social platforms,” ​​3M said.

In Europe as a whole, people acknowledge that there is widespread misinformation on social media (91 percent) and traditional media (72 percent).

71% of Britons trust science-based facts in traditional news.  That trust drops to 27 percent for science-based facts on social media

71% of Britons trust science-based facts in traditional news. That trust drops to 27 percent for science-based facts on social media

Moreover, 83% of Britons and 81% of Europeans believe that there are negative consequences for society if people do not value science.

Globally, the pandemic has made many people reevaluate their views and connections with science, probably because it plays a more important part in our lives.

For example, experiencing the changes caused by the pandemic has fostered an understanding of viruses and how they affect us.

The results also show that 43% of Britons consider science to be very important in their daily lives and only 25% of Britons are skeptical of science.

For Europeans in general, 45 percent say they are more grateful for science now than before the pandemic. In the UK, this figure is higher – 57 percent.

“The deep level of trust that people have in science and the growing role it plays in their lives is a very promising sign for the future,” Chapman said.

“We and the global scientific community must continue to promote and emphasize trusted and diverse voices in science to help address the world’s most difficult challenges.”

COVID-19 SPARKS THE FIRST “INFODEMIA” IN THE WORLD WITH MANY PEOPLE CAN’T DISTINGUISH THE FACTS FROM THE MEASURER

Covid-19 has sparked the world’s first “infodemia” with many people unable to separate fact from fiction, according to a 2020 report.

Two US artificial intelligence experts have blamed the coronavirus pandemic for an intensive stream of research in a rush to provide information.

By mid-August 2020, more than 8,000 preliminary prints of scientific papers containing the words Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 had been published in online medical, biological and chemical archives.

But this wealth of materials is difficult to digest and ranges from reputable to unreliable, they said.

Therefore, the wider use of AI to absorb and consolidate research can be the key to screening out facts from theory and ensuring that reliable information is properly identified.

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