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News release

Majority of Zambians want to protect unrestricted access to social media and Internet, Afrobarometer survey shows

7 Jul 2021 Zambia
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News release
Key findings
  • Almost one in four Zambians say they use social media (24%) and/or the Internet (22%) “every day” to get news (Figure 1).
  • A slim majority (51%) of Zambians say unrestricted access to the Internet and social media should be protected, vs. just 34% who would prefer to see access regulated by the government (Figure 2).
  • Among Zambians who have heard of social media, a majority see both positive and negative effects of these digital platforms, including that they make people more informed about current events (91%) and help them have more impact on political processes (74%) but also that they make them more likely to believe false news (76%) and more intolerant of people who hold different views (61%) (Figure 4).
  • Overall, half (49%) of citizens familiar with social media believe that it has a positive impact on society; only about half as many (24%) see its impact in a negative light (Figure 5).
  • Most Zambians (80%) say politicians and political parties “sometimes” or “often” spread information that they know is false. About six in 10 blame fake news on government officials and social media users (61% each) (Figure 6).

A majority of Zambians say social media and the Internet help people be better citizens, and unrestricted access to them should be protected, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

Among Zambians who are familiar with social media, most say it has both positive effects, such as keeping citizens informed, and negative effects, such as making them more likely to believe false information. Overall, positive assessments of social media’s impact on society outnumber negative assessments by 2-to-1.

As for who spreads fake news – via social media or any other media outlet – most Zambians blame politicians and political parties.