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UK – More than a third of people using the internet are unaware that online content can be false or biased, according to Ofcom.

In its annual research on the media use and online lives of children and adults, Ofcom found that around 14.5 million UK adults online are unsure or do not consider the truth of information online.

A twentieth of internet users (6%) believe everything they see online, according to Ofcom. Four in ten adults said they had seen stories on social media in the past year that seemed deliberately false or misleading.

Ofcom found that 69% of adults felt able to identify misinformation, but only 22% were able to correctly identify signs of misinformation in an authentic message without making mistakes.

Among older children aged 12 to 17, 74% felt confident in identifying misinformation, but only 11% were able to do so in practice.

The report also identified several themes in people’s online experiences, including the growing popularity of ICT Tac as part of “multiscreening”, research identifying some children as unable to focus on a single online activity.

Both adults and children are becoming more passive online, Ofcom said, with people being three times more likely to watch videos online than to post their own content.

Many children used scythes instagram – so-called “finstas” – to conceal aspects of their online lives from their parents, Ofcom found.

More and more young people were also sharing technical skills and helping others to use the Internet, as well as to use it for their own well-being.

The search results are drawn from Ofcom’s tracking surveys, such as the Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker.