Two-in-Five Canadian Social Media Users Are Finding “Fake News”

About three-in-ten have been exposed to racist content on their social media feeds.

Vancouver, BC [October 16, 2019] – A sizeable proportion of social media users in Canada say they have seen “fake news” in their feeds, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of social media users, 41% of respondents say they found links to stories on current affairs that were obviously false.

“Almost half of Canadian social media users aged 18-to-34 (48%) say they have found blatantly false stories on social media,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion is lower among those aged 35-to-54 (41%) and those aged 55 and over (36%).”

About three-in-ten Canadian social media users (29%) say they have found racist content or comments in their feed. About one-in-five also report finding homophobic content or comments (21%) and content or comments offensive to people with disabilities (20%).

Canadian social media users aged 18-to-34 are more likely to report someone for offensive content or comments (35%, compared to the national average of 21%) and to post something on social media that they deleted after thinking it over twice (28%, compared to the national average of 21%). 

When asked about specific ideas that could be implemented on social media platforms, two thirds of Canadian users (68%) are in favour of banning “anonymous” accounts to only allow people to comment and post if they use their real name and likeness.

Three-in-five Canadian social media users (60%) believe “creeping” should be dealt with and would like platforms to always allow users to see who has viewed their profiles, photos and posts.

A sizeable proportion of respondents (72%) acknowledge that it is difficult to discern which social media accounts are real and which ones are fake.

More than three-in-five social media users (63%) believe politicians who have a social media account should not be able to block users from engaging with them.

Canadian social media users who voted for the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 2015 federal election (67%) are more likely to support block-free accounts for politicians than those who voted for the Conservative Party (60%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from September 24 to September 26, 2019, among 840 adult social media users in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.