(ECNS) -- A new study shows over 60 percent of respondents saying most rumors spread online are carried via the popular mobile networking app WeChat, and that men are better than women in discerning misinformation.
The report by Media and Communication Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Social Sciences Academic Press was based on studies of rumors spread on WeChat from April 2015 to March 2016.
Most surveyed said they had found suspicious rumors on WeChat, much higher than the respective 15.2 percent and 21.6 percent for Weibo and other Internet forum users. But the higher figure could also be the result of more people using WeChat, which facilitates networking, it said.
The study found that the number of active monthly users on WeChat had reached 697 million by the end of 2015, making it a world-leading social networking program.
The most common rumors were about health, nutrition, food quality and personal safety. WeChat users republish information about health and food to assist others, but they also accelerate the spread of rumors, said the report.
Faced with important but ambiguous information, 70.3 percent said they would rather believe it is true, in contrast to the 17.6 percent of non-believers.
For men and women with little difference in education and social status, women performed distinctively poorer than men in uncovering false rumors.
It also found that 86.2 percent of those surveyed turned to the Internet for help when uncertain about information, while 56.5 sought help from friends.