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Trust in online content takes a big hit

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Most internet users in Switzerland search the web for information about products, notably to buy online and book holidays (Keystone) - Click to enlarge

Internet users in Switzerland rate their computer skills as good, but trust in online news content has dropped significantly, according to a survey by the University of Zurich.

An overwhelming majority (83%) of users stated they can easily distinguish between important and unimportant online activities.

Three out of four respondents also said they are able to target which people and information sources they follow online, and nearly as many believe they can adjust the settings of internet services, according to a statementexternal link published on Wednesday.

However, trust in online content appears to have dropped over the past few years and people appear to take a differentiated view of the trustworthiness of information.

“Until 2013, three-quarters of the Swiss population rated at least half of online content as trustworthy. This number has dropped to 58% in 2017,” the statement says.

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – swissinfo.ch’s parent company – as well as government agencies and paid newspapers are viewed more favourably than user-generated content and online social networks.

Privacy issue

Half the survey respondents said they are concerned about firms or people violating their privacy online. Some 39% said they feared the same about the government.

The 70-plus generation is on average more worried than any other age group.

Eight out of ten internet users also said they pay great deal of attention protecting their privacy, while 44% believe they can control their online privacy.

Half of the Swiss are not fully convinced that it is safe to state their opinions about politics on the internet, according to the research team from the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at Zurich University.

Eleven percent of users in Switzerland also said they have experienced data breaches in the past 12 months. Unwanted pornographic content and phishing attacks are the most common negative online experiences, the study found.

Overall, 90% of the Swiss population use the internet and the average usage time has doubled since 2011. It currently stands at 25.5 hours per week.

Young and less educated people spend most time online compared with other groups of the population.

The results of the survey are based on telephone interviews with 1,120 people aged 14 or over. Similar surveys have been carried out in Switzerland since 2011 as part of the World Internet Projectexternal link, a study that records the penetration of internet use in 30 countries.

 
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About Swissinfo
Swissinfo
SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, swissinfo.ch has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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