This OFCOM survey about Covid-19 News and Misinformation (tweeted by Michael Yeadon and flagged by BishopHill, to whom many thanks) is the worst opinion survey I’ve seen since you-know-when.
A few quick comments:
Figure 1: Consumption of misinformation
Q8 Have you come across any information/ news about Coronavirus that you think has been false or misleading in the past week?
Comment: That’s not misinformation, it’s what the respondent thinks is misinformation. It might be true or false, from the government or from a loony site. It doesn’t measure consumption of misinformation, but level of belief in what they read. In week 1, 46% read stuff they didn’t believe, which fell to 27% in week 25
Figure 2: Selected types of coronavirus misinformation encountered in previous week
Q10 Have you come across any of these false or misleading recommendations about aspects of the coronavirus in the LAST WEEK?
Face masks/coverings offer no protection
No. of deaths is much lower in reality
Potential dangers of a Coronavirus vaccine
No. of cases is much lower in reality
Theories linking Coronavirus to 5G technology
Schoolchildren can be tested without parents’ permission
Comment: Telling respondents that the information is false is grotesque survey practice. And false in the case of the third and fourth propositions. Of course there are potential dangers in vaccines. Asymptomatic cases are not “cases.”
Figure 4: Whether untrue stories about the coronavirus should be shared/ posted on social media
Comment: Before they get told that the above statements are false, they’ve been asked (Q4b3) whether they agree of disagree that untrue stories or items about Coronavirus should not be posted or shared on social media. 82% agree that they should not. Note at this stage they don’t know what OFCOM considers untrue.
Figure 5: Levels of concern about misinformation about the coronavirus
Q10k To what extent are you concerned or not concerned about the following statements?
The amount of false or misleading information you may be getting about Coronavirus
The amount of false or misleading information that others in society may be getting about Coronavirus
Comment: Answers on a five point scale from “very concerned” to “not at all concerned” tell us nothing, as you’d expect for such a convoluted question, asked apparently as the eleventh in a battery after OFCOM had revealed what they consider “false or misleading.” No information about the preceding ten questions.
The question numbers reveal that there are huge holes in the report – questions whose answers are not discussed. Presumably the raw data is available here. I haven’t dared look.