RESEARCH/STUDY

Ofcom Releases Research On People’s Access, Response To News, Information About COVID-19

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Ofcom has just published its regular research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week 10 of the lockdown, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed from previous weeks.

In week 10: nine in ten respondents are still accessing news about Covid-19 at least once a day;

people are accessing news about the virus less frequently. Fewer than one in ten people (7%) are now doing so twenty or more times a day, down from 24 per cent in week one the NHS remains the most trusted source of information on Covid-19. More than nine in ten adults (92%) who use it for information say they trust it; and the public currently consider ‘Staying at home as much as possible’, ‘Maintaining social distancing when outside’ and ‘Washing hands regularly and thoroughly’ as the three most important pieces of official advice.

Ofcom has also published a more detailed report on people’s experience of misinformation around Covid-19, along with updated findings on how the pandemic has affected our online behaviour.

Findings include:

  • in the first week of our survey, nearly half (46%) of respondents reported seeing misinformation about Covid-19 in the past seven days. This has now decreased to 38 per cent, the lowest level since our research began;
  • claims linking 5G to the virus was the most commonly-seen piece of misinformation, with 50 per cent of respondents reporting that they had come across it in week three. But by week 10 this has decreased to 30 per cent;
  • adult internet visitors spent 36 minutes longer on average per day online during April compared to January;
  • use of fact checking sites has increased significantly; Full Fact, for example, reached 1.4m and 1.2m adults in March and April respectively, compared to 405,00 in January and 309,000 in February; and
  • visits to NHS sites increased from 12.9m people in January to a peak of 22.5m in March, before declining to 18.1m in April.
  • Ofcom publishes findings on public access and response to news and information about COVID-19 on a fortnightly basis. Its next full report is due on Tuesday June 23, even as its interactive data report will continue to be updated on a weekly basis. https://www.mobileworldlive.com

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