Study: Source Internet? Digital news and information skills on test

How well can the general public assess and evaluate digital news? The newly published study by the New Responsibility Foundation (SNV) includes a population-representative test of digital information and news skills and identifies areas where action is needed.

Digital media place high demands on the information and news competence of their users. This has rarely been more important than it is today, in times of pandemics, economic crises or increasingly polarizing election campaigns. However, the way we consume news and inform ourselves about news has changed dramatically in recent years. How this change in media use affects the population's ability to understand news and evaluate information is shown by the results of the study "Quelle Internet? Digital News and Information Competencies of the German Population in a Test".

A selection of the study results at a glance:

  • Differences between disinformation, information, advertising and opinion are sometimes difficult to recognize. For example, 56 % of respondents mistook an advertorial - despite advertising labeling - for information. Only 23 % correctly recognized that it was advertising.
  • Many people correctly assess whether a source is trustworthy. Conflicts of interest, however, are recognized less frequently. For example, although 65 % of respondents recognized that the CEO of an air travel portal is not a neutral source as the author of a post on the subject of flying, only half of the respondents were also able to name the specific conflict of interest.
  • The labeling strategies of social media platforms on disinformation have hardly been effective so far. At most, a quarter of respondents identified such labeling as a helpful hint or were able to classify the information correctly.
  •  People doubt journalism's independence from politics. For example, 25% agreed with the statement that the media and politics work hand in hand to manipulate the population's opinion (another 28% said partly/partly). 24% believed that the population in Germany is systematically lied to by the media (another 30% said partly/partly).
  • Younger generations are more competent than older ones - although this depends on the level of education. The more highly educated respondents between the ages of 18 and 39 are particularly news-competent, while people under 40 with a low level of schooling have particularly low competence scores.

How news literate are you?

Do you recognize false news right away? What is a reputable source? Is it an opinion piece or an info report? The news test provides information about your personal news competence. Test your knowledge in the areas of judging, fact-checking, talking along, and knowledge and understanding. At the end of the test you will find out your result, also in comparison to the German average.

The News Test was developed as part of a research project by the New Responsibility Foundation in cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Media Authority Berlin-Brandenburg and the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia.

With klicksafe materials to more media competence

The overall evaluation of the data shows that the Internet users surveyed scored mediocre to poor in almost all areas of competence and that there is agreat need for action at to increase media competence

klicksafe offers comprehensive information and materials to fill these knowledge gaps and to promote information and news literacy. In the subject areas of disinformation and opinion, conspiracy theories and fake news, you will find teaching materials for educators, such as "Ethics makes click. Forming Opinions in the Digital World, " suitable infographics, quizzes, videos and much more. 

Further information on the study: