It’s a commonly held belief that everyone lies on the internet. After all it is the perfect environment to be in if you want to bend the truth – it’s far easier to fib when people can’t use your body language to read between your words.
But who tells more lies online? Men or women?
The researchers analysed hundreds of thousands of public posts on Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor and Instagram. They used a “deceit algorithm”, which scores posts for truthfulness based on tell-tale words and emoticons, to separate fact from fiction.
They discovered that people are less likely to lie if they use words like “I”, “me” or “we” because we subconsciously distance ourselves from what we know to be a lie. What made posts less credible were things like emoticons with a winking face or dark glasses.
Once they’d analysed the results, the researchers found that 64 per cent of lies were told by women.
Men appear to be much more truthful accounting for just 36 per cent of lies.
So who are the worst offenders?
Sydney men are the most deceitful on Facebook, while Australian women get a gold medal in fibbing by posting deceitful reviews on TripAdvisor. Women lie the most on Twitter, followed by Facebook and Instagram, while men lie most on Facebook.
There is a difference between “white lies”, told to save someone’s feelings, and bare-faced lies – the conclusion is that people tell white lies to gain the approval of their social network, to manage their personal brand, to make a good story an amazing story, and to have their ego stroked publicly.
Internet users told bare-faced lies to get free stuff, gain social power, elevate their importance and to protect themselves. One surprising piece of information the research discovered was that some people lie to themselves, and don’t even know they aren’t telling the truth!
By city, the biggest deceivers on Twitter are:
On social media globally, the least truthful users are:
- New York women
- Perth women
- Manchester women
- Cardiff women
- Edinburgh Women
- Brisbane men
- Adelaide women
- Los Angeles women
- Melbourne women
- Los Angeles men
Do you think it’s better to trust no one if you’re online? Or should we give people the benefit of the doubt and take people at face value, even on the internet?