One-in-Four Canadian WhatsApp Users Face Scams, Fake News

The vast majority of messages received on the app (84%) are personal, while fewer than one-in-five (16%) are work-related.

Vancouver, BC [July 15, 2022] – Just over two-in-five Canadians who rely on WhatsApp have never encountered one of four different setbacks while using the instant messaging application, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 45% of Canadians say they use WhatsApp, including 68% of those aged 18-to-34 and 55% of Ontarians.

More than three-in-four Canadian WhatsApp users (76%) say they rely on the application to send text messages “every day” or “a few days a week.”

More than half of WhatsApp users in Canada (55%) share pictures through the app “every day” or “a few days a week”, a proportion that rises to 74% among those aged 18 to 34.

Fewer Canadian WhatsApp users make audio phone calls (46%), share news articles (44%) or make video phone calls (42%) “every day” or “a few days a week” through the application.

Over the course of an average week, 84% of all WhatsApp messages received by Canadians are personal in nature (from friends and family), while the remaining 16% are work-related (dealing with co-workers, tasks or clients).

Only 41% of Canadian WhatsApp users say they have not encountered any one of four problems when using the app.

Almost two-in-five Canadian WhatsApp users (38%) acknowledge that they had to block a person on the app, including 52% of Atlantic Canadians.

More than a quarter of Canadian WhatsApp users (27%) say they were added to a group without their consent, a proportion that rises to 41% in Quebec.

One-in-four Canadian WhatsApp users received “fake news” or misinformation on the app (24%) or were targeted by a scam (23%).

“About a third of Canadian WhatsApp users aged 18-to-34 (32%) are successful at pinpointing misinformation,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The numbers are decidedly lower among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (24%) and aged 55 and over (16%).”

WhatsApp users in British Columbia are more likely to have been targeted by a scam while using the application (26%) than those in Alberta and Quebec (24% each), Ontario (23%), Atlantic Canada (22%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (17%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from June 25 to June 27, 2022, among 1,000 adults in Canada. 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 +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]