null 'Homo Digitalis: The risks of using technology in everyday life'

90% of Spaniards think intentional hoaxes on social media and Whatsapp should be punished

  • The public's three main concerns in today's digitisation process are hoaxes on social networks and WhatsApp, transfers of personal data and cybersecurity attacks, according to a study analysing technology risks in everyday life.  
  • 70% of Spaniards admit they have sometimes believed hoaxes on social media or WhatsApp, and only 31% think they can really distinguish real from false information. One in five respondents thought WhatsApp groups of friends and family to be the most reliable sources of information. 
  • As a result, 80% of Spaniards consider the media the most reliable source. But only 16% are willing to pay for truthful information that has been checked. 
  • Paradoxically, they consider public administrations to be the most reliable entities for data transfers. But when they develop projects with significant social impact, they generate a great deal of mistrust. This is what is happening with the COVID Radar app: more than 70% have not downloaded it for fear of what their data might be used for. 
  • Internet search engines and social networks generate the greatest mistrust on privacy issues. Even so, Facebook and Twitter are still the platforms where people most often share personal data, especially photos and videos from private life. 

Madrid, 30 November 2020.- The digital ecosystem has quickly transformed man into 'Homo Digitalis', for whom technology is an essential part of everyday life. However, the ever-presence of technology has led to three major fears about technology among the public: social networks hoaxes, transfers of personal data and what they might be used for and cyberattacks

Petrol stations are giving away free fuel. The head of Joe Biden's election campaign has been arrested. Garlic soup with lemon and onion cures coronavirus. These are just a few of the hoaxes that have circulated on social media recently. This trend has soared with information on COVID-19, making the public increasingly concerned. 90% of Spaniards believe that intentional hoaxes on social media and WhatsApp should be punished. This is one of the conclusions of the 'Homo Digitalis: the risks of using technology in everyday life' report, published today by Línea Directa Aseguradora. This study reflects the company's interest in understanding the impact of technology on people's everyday lives, and raising awareness of the risks associated with this. 

The rise of fake news and hoaxes on social media

The public is worried about the risk of misinformation. The report reveals that more than 70% of the public have believed fake news recently. Only 31% of Spaniards think they can easily distinguish between hoaxes and real news

So, it seems society is very aware of this phenomenon: most people (80%) prefer to get their information from the media, which they consider the most reliable source. Nine out of ten Spaniards believe that malicious hoaxes circulating on social networks and WhatsApp should be censored and their creators punished. However, only 16% of respondents are willing to pay for truthful information that has been checked, and more than 21% consider ~WhatsApp groups of family and friends to be the most reliable sources of information. 

Personal data transfers and cyberattacks

Another concern among the public revealed by the report is the transfer of their digital identity, especially their bank account data and personal passwords. Two out of ten respondents say their passwords or bank details have been stolen online at some time. People are least concerned about publishing and sharing ideological, religious and sexual preferences in the digital sphere, according to the survey.  

In the business world, financial and insurance companies generate the most trust among Spaniards. The companies that generate the greatest mistrust among users are search engines, such as Google, and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, despite these platforms being where personal data is shared most frequently, especially photos and videos from private life. With regards to such data transfers, only 10% of the public would sell their digital identities, and they would basically do so for money.

The report also concludes that seven out of ten people have received a suspicious email that might be a cyberattack. However, not everyone is aware of the dangers lurking on the Internet, such as phishing (the impersonation of people, companies or services to trick users and steal their data by gaining their trust). The report finds that 60% of Spaniards have heard of this, although only 35% think they know how to identify it correctly. The most commonly used measures for avoiding scams are only buying on familiar websites (70%) and, to a lesser extent, using payment gateways (45%). 

When it comes to Internet browsing, only 16% of people read the terms of use, conditions and privacy policies for digital services they are signing up for or free apps they are downloading. The main reason is that they are long and tedious (74%) and, to a lesser extent, because of habit and because speed is important (44%). In most cases, these apps are free because of the transfer of personal data. However, 70% of Spaniards are unwilling to pay for digital services they now receive for free.

Autonomous communities and downloads of the COVID Radar app

The report finds that transfers and use of data by public administrations are of great concern. This is paradoxical, as they are also the most trusted bodies among the public for data transfers on the internet. 

Two major government technological projects have recently been introduced in Spain: the INE initiative for monitoring population mobility and the COVID Radar app, designed to curb coronavirus contagions. Both of these aim to solve major problems, but both have been very controversial among the public. Why? Because, as this study shows, the public mistrusts what the administrations might use their data for. For example, more than 70% of Spaniards say they have not installed the COVID Radar app

In Spain, only an average of 28% of the population say they have downloaded the COVID Radar app. The autonomous communities with the lowest installation rates for this app are Catalonia (19%), Valencia (20%) and Madrid (21%). The highest rates are in Asturias (44%), the Canary Islands (41%) and La Rioja (35%).  

Francisco Valencia, Línea Directa Aseguradora's Director of Communication and Sustainability comments that, "The use of new technologies in our daily lives is increasing, and the risks we face in terms of misinformation, transfers of personal data and cyberattacks are also increasingly worrying. That is why, as part of our commitment to digitisation and technology, Línea Directa Aseguradora wants to analyse the benefits and also the risks and major paradoxes in users' opinions of new technologies". 


Línea Directa Aseguradora carried out the study to understand the impact of technology on the daily lives of the public, as a company that is leading digitisation in the insurance sector and wants to help society with the digitisation process to minimise the risks. The survey was conducted between 22 and 27 October 2020 by the consultancy MDK and included more than 1,700 Spaniards, weighting the results proportionately by sex, age and region, with a margin of error of +/-2.38%.