98 Percent Of American Users Distrust The Information They Find On The Internet

07/19/2012 03:56 pm ET | Updated Jul 19, 2012

We certainly don't believe everything we read. From questionably sourced Wikipedia entries to promotional-sounding reviews, Internet users have become skeptical of the data they ingest.

A whopping 98 percent of Americans distrust information on the Internet, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive. The study consisted of 1,900 participants across the country and was sponsored by business Q&A service Mancx.

According to the company's press release of the report there are four main reason Americans are suspicious of the Internet: 59 percent said they're concerned if they see too many ads, 56 percent are worried about outdated information, 53 percent believe the information they are consuming is self-promotional, while 45 percent are wary of unfamiliar forums.

The research also found 94 percent of the participants believed "bad things can happen as a result of acting on inaccurate information online." The two most popular concerns were about users wasting their time or getting a computer virus because of inaccurate information.

While Americans seem naturally suspicious of the Internet, is it possible we're contributing to this mindset with our social media habits? How many times have we fudged the truth just a little on Facebook or Twitter?

Consumer Reports conducted a study this May, finding that about one in four Facebook users lie on their profile. But interestingly enough, users weren't simply trying to beef up their social status or appear more popular. The survey of 2,000 households found that "25 percent of users said they falsified information in their profiles to protect their identity," per CNN.

And yet sometimes, the Internet's information may be our safest bet because of its collective nature. Data from the Cornell Social Media Lab found that business networking site LinkedIn often contains more truthful resumes that "traditional, paper copies." Since previous employers can verify your information on a public profile, researchers believe people are less prone to exaggerate.

Are you suspicious of the information you find on the Internet? Do you think because we (occasionally) distort the truth via networking sites, we encourage a natural distrust? Let us know in the comments section below, or tweet us at @HuffPostTech.

[Hat tip, Mashable]

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