Nonsense survey: 1/5 turning to net for friends

Papers swallow spurious number wholesale

Shh I m socialising

Another Monday, another depressing online survey that the media pick up on for a cheap headline – with 20 per cent of us apparently turning to the net to make friends.

In a survey conducted by, wait for it, , 18% of people have turned to the net to make friends.

It's a wonderful headline – but hang on a minute – how about we take a deeper look at this poll?

Members only

Apparently polled 25,000

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members (take careful note of that last word), to come up with a one in five statistic that's being extrapolated as representative of the UK population.

Of course, members of a site called makefriendsonline are probably trying to, erm, make friends online, and therefore when you ask them how they make friends their response might well be expected to be 'I make friends online'.

So a more accurate headline would be: '18% of those who use the site makefriendsonline use it as their sole source of making friends'.

But would that end up in London's free commuter rag 'The Metro'? TechRadar thinks not. Although you may expect the paper to ponder slightly longer on a press release like that before running it.