The report was released in an event held August 29 in Taipei, co-organized by asmag.com’s sister publication Infosecurity.
The Internet is readily accessible to people in Taiwan, yet online misinformation
and fraud remain some of their top concerns, according to a recently published report, which also calls for the concerted and collective effort by the government, online platforms and netizens alike to address these issues.
The findings were part of the Taiwan Internet Report, compiled by the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC), which polled more than 2,000 Taiwanese on their Internet usage behavior. The report was released in an event held August 29 in Taipei, co-organized by asmag.com’s sister publication Infosecurity.
“TWNIC has been conducting this research for more than 20 years. This year's scope has been extended even further to include topics such as misinformation, fraud, digital resilience, technological companionship and digital equality,” said Kenny Huang, MD and CEO of TWNIC.
Audrey Fang, Minister of Digital Affairs, said issues discussed in the repot such as Internet applications and digital literacy closely aligned with her ministry’s core mission – “digital resilience for all.”
“Resilience refers to the ability to quickly recover from and respond to various incidents, including cyberattacks
and natural disasters
, by way of multiple network backups, and to ‘leverage the resources of global democratic networks to give power back to the society,’” she said.
According to the report, 84.67 percent of Taiwan citizens over the age of 18 had used the Internet over the past three months, slightly higher than last year’s number. Overall usage rates for instant messaging apps and social media were 83.4 and 71.12 percent, respectively, with LINE and Facebook being the most used. More than half of the surveyed had never used digital voice assistants and ChatGPT, highlighting Taiwan still has room to promote emerging technology usage.
The report showed that 40.46 percent of Taiwan Internet users had shared news on social media and instant messaging in the past month. However, only 40.94 percent were confident in their ability to verify the authenticity of news, lower than the 48.3 percent who were not confident. At the same time, the public was not confident in the quality of information on social media, with 69.55 percent of social media users agreeing that "information on social media was not trustworthy.”
Regarding misinformation monitoring and control, more than 80 percent believed the responsibility should be on the online platform and government. While it’s true that Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) have begun to flag problematic information, 47.07 percent of respondents said they had never seen a warning mechanism on social media.
As for online fraud and scams, 67.68 percent of people have seen fraudulent messages via various channels in the past three months, including phone calls, text messages and e-mail, and 3.71 percent of people have been victimized. 11.57 percent of the public are still not confident in dealing with fraud. This indicates that relevant authorities should strengthen anti-fraud propaganda and strengthen protective measures to enhance the ability to prevent fraud.
All in all, the survey concludes that dealing with misinformation and fraudulent activities requires the collective effort of government regulations, social media platforms and the public.
Insights into Internet video culture
Regarding online audio and video services, experts interviewed in the survey said YouTube had gained huge traction, making it a formidable competitor to Netflix and Disney+. The report also observed the live-streaming phenomenon, saying while many YouTubers have built large communities, their potential to cause further societal division and information fragmentation should be cautioned against.
Digital equality: Creating an age-friendly Internet environment
According to the report, the groups with the lowest Internet access rate were those aged 70 and above, with Internet access rate of only 40.35 percent, and those with primary school education and below, with an Internet access rate of only 27.24 percent.
As senior citizens have the lowest Internet usage rate compared to other age groups, how to encourage more of them to use the Internet has become key. “If you want to improve digital equality for that age group, the introduction of ‘elderly-friendly’ equipment and interface design is an important element to drive the utilization rate of digital services. In the process of continuous digitalization of society, establishing an age-friendly digital inclusive environment is an imperative policy direction for an aging society in the future,” the report said.
The survey was conducted between May 2 and 20 in Taiwan’s 22 cities/counties, with 1,084 and 1,069 samples collected, respectively, from residential and mobile phones. The margin of error is plus/minus 2.97 and 2.94 percent, respectively, at a 95 percent confidence level.