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Three quarters of Singaporeans concerned about the use of deepfakes in scams

08 April 2024
BlogPost 99077353146 Three quarters of Singaporeans concerned about the use of deepfakes in scams lang

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Verian ran a nationally representative online survey among 1,000 Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents to better understand Singaporeans' recent interactions with - and concerns regarding - misinformation and deepfakes.

Key findings

  • Forty-eight percent (48%) of Singaporeans indicated that they have seen or heard content that they would classify as misinformation in the past three months. Exposure to misinformation relating to the Israel-HAMAS war (19%), COVID-19 (18%), the Russia-Ukraine war (14%) and Singapore politicians (14%) is most common.
  • Twenty-two percent (22%) indicated that they have seen deepfake images or videos in the past three months.
  • A majority are worried about the potential impact of deepfakes on the next election (65%), while more than three quarters are concerned that this technology will be increasingly used in scams (77%).

Misinformation and deepfakes (defined here as ‘artificial videos and images that are manipulated to replace footage or images of one person with another’) are increasingly commonplace in our society. To better understand Singaporeans’ recent interactions with
- and concerns regarding – such content, Verian (a global independent research, evidence, evaluation, and communications agency) ran a nationally representative online survey among 1,000 Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents.

The findings of this survey are as follows:

Singaporeans’ recent encounters with misinformation

When asked if they have encountered misinformation in the past three months, 48% indicated that they had seen or heard such content.

Misinformation was most often encountered online. Social media platforms (66%) are the primary channel on which misinformation was seen or heard, followed by messaging platforms (47%), and online forums and discussion boards (39%). Singaporeans aged 16- 24 years are significantly more likely to have been exposed to misinformation on social media platforms and via word-of-mouth.

Topics of misinformation encountered in the past three months

Exposure to misinformation regarding the Israel-Hamas war (19%), COVID-19 (18%), the Russia-Ukraine war (14%) and Singapore politicians (14%) was most common.

Males are more likely to have seen misinformation regarding the Israel-HAMAS and Russia-Ukraine wars. Singaporeans aged 16-24 years are more likely to have seen misinformation regarding the Israel-HAMAS war.

SG_misinformation1

The threat of deepfakes

Twenty-two percent (22%) of Singaporeans indicated that they have seen deepfake images or videos in the past three months, while 12% reported hearing ‘voice clones’ (defined here as ‘artificial audio that is manipulated to sound like another person’).

Concern regarding the potential influence of deepfakes on Singapore’s society is high. Sixty-five percent (65%) agreed that they are worried about the potential impact of deepfakes on the next Singapore Election, while more than three quarters (77%) agreed that they are worried that deepfakes will be increasingly used in scams. Level of concern regarding deepfakes is consistent across population groups, with no differences according to age, gender or education.

SG_Deepfakes

Confidence navigating the Internet

Despite their concerns regarding deepfakes, a majority (54%) nonetheless agreed that they feel safe online. Agreement was highest among those aged 65 or more years.

When asked about their ability to identify misinformation and deepfakes online, most indicated that they are confident doing so. Specifically, two-thirds of Singaporeans (66%) agreed that are confident in their ability to identify misinformation online, while 61% are confident that they can identify deepfakes. Rates of confidence are higher among Singaporeans aged 65 or more years.

SG_safety-Identify

Commenting on results of the survey, Robert McPhedran, Senior Director at Verian in Singapore said:

“The results of this study are further evidence that Singaporeans should be concerned about the risks posed by emerging technologies such as deepfakes.

While the Government has moved quickly to strengthen laws to protect Singaporeans against online harms, the speed with which generative AI technology is advancing, makes policymaking and regulation a profound challenge.

Given the potential destructive effects of deepfakes on society, a combination of policy, public communications and technological interventions will likely be needed.”

About the study:

  • The study was conducted online between 26 March 2024 and 1 April 2024, with a sample of n=1,000 Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
  • Quotas on age, gender, ethnicity, and region were enforced to ensure that the sample’s composition resembles the population distribution, based on Singapore Department of Statistics population estimates.
  • Rate of agreement represent the proportion who ‘slightly agreed’, ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the following statements:
    • ‘I am worried about the potential impact of misinformation on the next Singapore Election’;
    • ‘I am worried that deepfakes will be increasingly used in scams in Singapore’;
    • ‘I feel safe online’;
    • ‘I am confident in my ability to identify misinformation online’; and
    • ‘I am confident in my ability to identify deepfakes online’.

Note

For further information on any of the data and findings from the report please contact robert.mcphedran@veriangroup.com or pressenquiries@veriangroup.com.

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