Novye Izvestia has already devoted more than one material to the All-Russian Population Census, and sociological experts expressed great and reasonable doubts about the success of this campaign, and agreed that the final results would be falsified by about 30%. The figure is gigantic, indicating the futility of this campaign.
However, experts from the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation tried to refute these fears by revealing the main myths about the population census and the mechanics of their distribution. The results of this study were presented on November 3 at the Community Forum in Moscow.
“Recently, we have registered over 300 fake messages about the All-Russian Population Census. As a result of Rosstat's information campaign, many of them have gone down in history. Otherwise, the consequence of such messages could be a decrease in the number of participants in the census. But already at the moment the number of people who signed up on the State Services has surpassed the forecasts of Rosstat, ”said Alexander Malkevich, head of the working group of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on countering the dissemination of inaccurate information on the Internet. He cited the top 5 myths (according to the total representation in the news media and the influence of the original sources):
“Even before the start of the census, there was a fake about the leaking of volunteers' data from the census website. However, in fact, this site did not store these data at all, and the indicated number of census volunteers exceeded their total number in the country. Even this detail turned out to be an unverified fact, ”Malkevich said.
The second fake - "under the guise of scribes, scammers walk around the apartments." “The announcement on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs that the scribes went home, they began to retell incorrectly in social networks, supplement with new details. And as a result, vigilant citizens began to suspect all census takers of fraud and call the police, ”the representative of the Public Chamber explained.
The third myth: "scribes were allowed to open doors with a chainsaw." “Initially there was a publication on a satirical site. But the problem is that many people send news not by links, but by screenshots. You took a photo of the screen with a catchy title, without a satire warning, and sent it to a friend. Many people immediately take it on faith and in all seriousness discuss it, share it with others. This is how new myths are born, ”the expert explained.
Fourth (“census takers overestimate and underestimate certain nationalities”). Such fakes, according to Malkevich, work for representatives of different nationalities, reporting that their number will be underestimated, thus misleading.
The fifth myth ("the census is against the citizens of the USSR") myths are associated with purposeful work for a narrow audience. “For example, fakes are spread that census takers underestimate the number of births in the Soviet Union in order to reduce the so-called“ citizens of the USSR. Rumors spread among those who consider themselves such citizens that their personal data will be sold abroad”, - Malkevich explains.
The emergence of myths and fake messages is explained by the scale of the event, sociologist Ksenia Kasyanova believes.
“When it comes to an event that affects 100% of the country's residents, it is impossible to avoid misinterpretations, dissemination of inaccurate data, and sometimes just hype. During the information campaign of the All-Russian Population Census, we have come across all types of fake news - from deliberately disseminated disinformation to local distortions of reality. The modern information space is designed in such a way that any unreliable information can be quickly disseminated, ”she said.
The new myths are generally similar to the previous ones, but have become more noticeable in connection with the development of the digital environment, says Vladimir Zorin, Chief Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences IEA, Chairman of the Commission on Harmonization of Interethnic and Interreligious Relations of the Public Chamber of Russia.
“Some time ago there was a myth that people were fined for not participating in the census. Indeed, in many countries there is such a thing. But not in Russia. And why? The latest polls by VTsIOM indicate the readiness of the majority of Russians to take part in the census for decisions for the future. There was a myth that only citizens of Russia corresponded - and others did not need it. But working with migrants and everyone who is in Russia dispels this myth, ”the expert gave an example.
Other common myths that continue to exist are that "all the data is already somewhere." “In fact, the census data is unique. Most of the answers can only be given by the census and the person himself. And now other sources are equal to his answers. Census data are the most reliable and precise reference point for them. At the same time, the data is completely impersonal, which means, by definition, protected, ”summed up Vladimir Zorin. He noted that many myths have already been debunked by Rosstat.
“To resist fakes and get a reliable picture is possible only by personal participation in the census. This is the only reliable source of information about the population of the country, because everyone speaks for himself, from the first person”, - concluded Alexander Malkevich.