I wrote before how Bad Statistics Are Dangerous For Charities.
Here’s a great example of how a statistic evolves on-line…
Here’s the original statistic from the (questionable) research: “64% say that corporate social responsibility is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone programme”. Note that this is derived from asking CEOs “Which of these statements best describes your organisation today?”
This is pulled in to a blog post and correctly used (although there’s no mention of the wishy-washy way the stat is derived):
But (presumably) the editor goes with a catchy headline, “64% of CEOs Are Increasing Investment in Corporate Social Responsibility in 2016 – Here’s Why”:
Although this same headline is used in the original blog – so there probably was no editor.
A Director of PWC UK then share’s the statistic, with a subtle but crucial change, “64% of CEOs increased investment into CSR in 2016”:
And forever now we’ll be reading that in 2016 the majority of CEOs increased investment in CSR.