Elections: Majority sees great danger in controlled disinformation

Elections: Majority sees great danger in controlled disinformation
Elections: Majority sees great danger in controlled disinformation

Ahead of the state elections in September and the federal election expected next year, experts are warning of attempts to influence the country from abroad. This is how citizens assess the danger.

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of German citizens believe that disinformation campaigns controlled from abroad pose a major or very major threat to democracy in Europe. In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Forsa for the magazine “Internationale Politik”, only 24 percent of respondents see a lesser or no threat.

The danger appears somewhat less great to respondents in eastern Germany than to those in the west of the country: in the east, 67 percent believe that such campaigns are a great or very great danger, compared to 75 percent in the west. In contrast, 30 percent of respondents in the east believe the danger is less great or non-existent, compared to 24 percent in the west.

Ahead of the state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg in September, the US presidential election in November and the federal election next year, experts and politicians are warning of influence from Russia or China, for example, with the help of disinformation campaigns on social media.

Supporters of government parties are more likely to see a danger

Looking at party supporters, it is noticeable that voters of the governing parties rate the threat posed to democracy by such campaigns as above average: 90 percent of SPD and Green supporters consider it to be great or very great, while among FDP voters the figure is 88 percent.

The figure is also clearly above average among supporters of the Union parties, at 80 percent. The opposite is true for AfD voters: among them, only a minority of 42 percent consider disinformation campaigns to be dangerous, while every second person considers them to be less or not dangerous.

According to the survey, younger respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 are significantly less likely to believe that disinformation campaigns are a major or very major threat: 66 percent think so. 45- to 59-year-olds, on the other hand, are the most concerned (83 percent).

Source: Stern

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