Youths won't post false or inaccurate information online: Singapore Poly survey

SINGAPORE - Young people in Singapore will go to great lengths to present a positive self image on social media.

But they will stop short of lying or posting misleading information to achieve that, because they fear the backlash if they are discovered, according to a survey of 820 respondents aged between 15 and 35.

Almost 90 per cent of respondents said they would not post false or inaccurate information in order to portray a better image online.

The survey, performed by students from Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) Diploma in Media and Communication course, revealed that young people are careful about lying for fear of being scrutinised and flamed by netizens if they were caught.

But they have their own strategies for grooming their virtual selves in the best possible light on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For instance, 60 per cent would post positive qualities about themselves or share their accomplishments online.

Forty per cent also removed unflattering pictures or information of them because they did not want to be viewed in an unfavourable light by their followers.

There were also some "surprising results", said SP student Clement Cheng, 19, one of the presenters of the survey.

"More than half of the respondents were not very concerned about their number of friends or followers, or the number of comments, replies and shares on their photos, tweets or status updates," he said.

However, that did not hold true when it came to likes and favourites. About 56 per cent of the young people did care how many likes their photos, status updates or tweets received, the survey showed.

Some told The Straits Times that while outright lies are unacceptable, bending the truth is not.

Accountancy student Lisha Ong, 19, said: "Not everyone will be truthful online - some will edit their pictures, like with Photoshop.

"I haven't personally seen any friends photoshopping their photos, but it's something that we always hear about bloggers doing."

Another student, Yuan Ying, 21, said that while she was concerned with the number of likes she gets on her Instagram pictures, she would not post false captions or lie about them in order to garner more likes.