The poll finding in December that one in five Americans between the ages of 18-29 think the Holocaust is a myth made waves among both the US and international media, another indictment of the younger generation’s historical ignorance. But was it reliable?

A short release from the Pew Research Center about online opt-in polls has now cast doubt over the veracity of this figure. The writers cite significant errors within opt-in polls, prompted by the involvement of “bogus respondents” who, instead of answering questions sincerely, complete surveys “with as little effort as possible in order to earn money or other rewards”. As a result, these polls can overestimate unusual patterns and behaviours, with Pew giving as an example the belief in conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate”. The research company claimed that the real figure for this age group believing the Holocaust is a myth is closer to 3%. Young people completing surveys to make money rather than help science, whatever next?