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91% of Delhi's Gen Z believe Fake News influences voting: latest 23 Watts report

Amidst the spread of misinformation in today’s digital age, The 23 Watts, a new age communication consulting firm, has released a report that explores the relationship between Delhi youth, notably Generation Z (Gen Z), and ‘Fake news.’ The report titled ‘Truth Be Told’, examines how the digitally native Gen-Z perceive, consume and navigate the complexities of misinformation. 

With over 1,200 respondents aged below 25 years, across Delhi-NCR, ‘Truth Be Told’ covers three broad areas: the influence of misinformation, the experience of coming across fake news, and the opinion of the youth about who is responsible for the Fake News epidemic.

The 23 Watts onboarded an external expert, Vijay Ganesan, former director-analytics & data strategy, Europe at Kantar to verify the methodology applied in the report, Kantar

‘Truth be Told’ also sheds light on the Delhi youth’s social media behaviours, mindsets, and information-sharing patterns, revealing the impact these factors have on their decision-making processes. Released ahead of the General Elections in New Delhi, this report seeks to foster an informed and resilient Gen Z electorate as they play a crucial role in shaping the outcome.

Some of the key highlights from the report include:

  • During national events like elections, 90% of the respondents said they experienced an increase in fake news.
  • 91% believe fake news can influence voting decisions.
  • 80% of the population alters their perceptions and opinions based on fake news influence.
  • 59% of the consensus fall trap to sensationalism, leading them to share fake news
  • Although 95% claim to authenticate news, 45% have shared unauthenticated news later found to be fake.
  • Only 29% of individuals authenticate information through fact-checking websites.
  • 62% of the Delhi Genz consensus believe that fake news not only misleads perceptions but also plays as a tool to mend and damage reputations
  • 89% believe the government needs to do more to prevent fake news, with 69% suggesting stricter policies are necessary.
  • Approximately 66% of GenZ population relies on internet portals (YouTube, social media, messengers, online articles) for news consumption.

Tarundeep Singh, chief growth officer, The 23 Watts, says, “Born into technology and raised with information at their fingertips, Generation Z is redefining political movements, religion, pop culture, national events, and more. With fake news being at the forefront of all major happenings in the nation, through The 23 Watts Insights Studio, we wanted to understand this shifting focus."

"The core of our effort is to map and mine the minds of the loud and proud Gen Z to understand the lasting shift in news consumption and the spread of misinformation.”

The primary research also highlighted that 14% of Delhi youth tend to share sensational news, without fact-checking, and only based on conjectures. 

Vijay Ganesan, former director-analytics & data strategy, Europe, Kantar said, “This research explores these themes in detail with an ideal balance with the Quantitative approach needed for a piece of reliable empirical evidence and equally complemented by in-depth insights unlocked through qualitative research to understand motivations and behaviours. It's an evolving area of research and this is an attempt to demystify the larger community. I am sure it will unlock more and more such unknowns in its immediate future iterations.”

In an unprecedented year for elections, out of all the risks, Fake News is one of the major threats that the youth of Delhi face today. The call for Government action is loud, with 48%, demanding tighter policies, 16% appealing for education campaigns to navigate these rough seas and 15% advocating for national fact-checking as a solution. 

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