The latest Global Internet User Survey reveals that 83% of users worldwide see internet access as a basic human right that is crucial for enabling the freedom of expression on all subjects.
Yet when asked about honesty and sharing their own information, over half of the 10,000-plus respondents admitted giving out false information when creating an online account, at least some of the time.
Internet as force for good
What is clearest from the findings, collected from respondents in 20 countries including the US, China and South Korea, is that people generally feel the internet is a force for good that has the potential to solve a number of the world's most significant problems.
Over 60% of people agreed or agreed strongly that it could reduce child mortality, while 65% believe it can eliminate extreme poverty and could bring a halt to child and female trafficking (69%). However, it is in its role as an educational tool that all users see it has the greatest impact (80%) with 98% of respondents going as far as to say that the internet was crucial to their own access to knowledge and education.
Daily access to social media
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 96% of global participants admitted to accessing the net on a daily basis, with more than 90% of respondents claiming to have social media accounts and 60% of those polled saying they access social media sites on a daily basis.
And, with such power to improve the quality of users' lives, it's also less than a surprise that 70% of those polled said that greater government involvement could make the internet too controlled or could limit access to content. However, 30% agree or agree strongly that censorship already exists on the internet and 66% of respondents agree that governments in countries without internet censorship have a responsibility to address issues of censorship in other countries.
Speed a priority
When asked how the internet could be improved, 73% wanted faster connection speeds as a top priority, followed by reliability (69%) and a reduction in monthly fees (68%). Meanwhile, 50% said they'd like to see more content in their native language and 49% believed their user experience could be improved by better online access to government and community services.