A Third of Canadian Social Media Users Have Encountered “Fake News”

Most time is spent on Facebook, but YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram are growing—particularly with young adults.

Vancouver, BC – A surge in usage of Instagram and Snapchat across Canada, a worrying incidence of “fake news” and a high level of support for banning anonymous accounts are some of the highlights of the 2017 Canadian Social Media Monitor, released by Insights West.

Usage and Momentum: Facebook is King, But Newer Platforms Are Gaining

The online survey of a representative sample found that more than half of Canadians (55%) are on Facebook every day, while 28% spend time on YouTube on a daily basis. The proportion of day-to-day users is lower for Instagram (20%), Twitter (16%) and Snapchat (10%).

When it comes to weekly use, Facebook also dominates (72% of Canadians visit at least once a week). However, three newer platforms show significant growth since the 2016 Canadian Social Media Monitor: YouTube (from 49% to 60%), Instagram (from 20% to 30%) and Snapchat (from 9% to 17%).

More than a quarter of Canadians say they are currently spending more time on YouTube (28%) and Facebook (26%) than they were six months ago. Other platforms that are being used more now are Instagram (17%), Twitter (14%) and Snapchat (9%).

“The recent success of some social media platforms in Canada is directly related to age,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Canadians aged 18-to-34 are taking Instagram and Snapchat to new heights.”

Benefits: Friendship and Lifestyle Changes

When asked about positive interactions, some Canadians report success in rekindling with friends and even finding a new job.

Across the country:

  • 39% say they reconnected with a long, lost friend through a social media platform.
  • 25% claim to have more friends now because of social media.
  • 25% conducted some research and/or pursued studies related to a specific issue because of a conversation on social media.
  • 19% made a positive lifestyle change that was influenced by social media.
  • 11% found a job opportunity that developed into an actual job through social media.
  • 9% found a spouse or partner through social media.
  • 7% resolved outstanding family issues through social media.

Those aged 18-to-34 are significantly more likely to say they have more friends because of social media (36%, compared to the Canadian average of 25%), to have pursued studies or research because of social media (33%, compared to the Canadian average of 25%) and to have found an actual job through social media (24%, compared to the Canadian average of 11%).

Drawbacks: “Fake News” and Questionable Content

When asked about negative interactions, there is a worrying incidence of “fake news” and questionable content.

Across the country:

  • 35% found links to stories on current affairs that were obviously false—a proportion that jumps to 48% in British Columbia.
  • 28% found racist content or comments on their social media feed.
  • 23% posted something on social media that they deleted after thinking it over twice.
  • 20% reported a social media user for offensive content or comments.
  • 20% found content or comments offensive to people with disabilities on their social media feed.
  • 19% found homophobic content or comments on their social media feed.
  • 15% lost a friend over a social media conversation, including 25% of those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
  • 7% made a comment on social media that was used against them in a different conversation.

Men are more likely than women to say they have found racist content or comments on social media (34% to 23%), but women are more likely to acknowledge losing a friend over a social media conversation than men (19% to 12%).

The Future: Avoid Pretentiousness and Anonymity

When asked about specific criticisms that have been levelled against social media, Canadians did not hold back.

Across the country:

  • Four-in-five (79%) think some social media users show off too often.
  • Almost three-in-four (73%) believe some social media users don’t live “in the moment.”
  • More than two thirds (68%) want to ban “anonymous” social media accounts and want people to only comment if they use their real name and likeness.
  • Almost two thirds (64%) want to deal with “creeping” and allow users to always see who has viewed their profiles, photos and posts.

For the full 2017 Canadian Social Media Monitor report click here.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from July 20 to July 27, 2017, among 816 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points for the entire sample, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For media interviews, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

For more information about the report, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778-891-4762
stevemossop@insightswest.com