‘Fake news’ remains a major concern to US, UK audiences

13 June 2019 Consulting.us

Concern regarding “fake news” and bias is on the rise, according to a study by consulting firm OC&C – with the concern reaching across generations and political bent, and affecting both US and UK citizens.

The rise of the fake news phenomenon can debatably be attributed to the election of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly accused the media of spreading falsehoods and outright lies about him and his administration.

HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE RISE OF 'FAKE NEWS' AND THE IMPACT IT MAY HAVE?

US news consumers are keen to place the responsibility on individuals, rather than demand increased government regulation, like their UK counterparts, but social media juggernaut Facebook makes both countries’ shortlist of blameworthy entities. In the US, users creating and sharing fake content takes the one and two slot, with politicians in fourth.

WHO DO YOU THINK IS TO BLAME FOR ‘FAKE NEWS’?

recent poll by Pew Research also showed the rearing head of the fake news threat, with slight differences from the OC&C study, revealing that a staggering 50% of Americans believe it is a “critical problem” for the country – one close or equal to the gap between rich and poor and the operation of the US political system. Only healthcare affordability and drug addiction outrank it by a wide margin.

The same poll showed that Americans predominantly blame politicians and political staff, followed by activist groups, for the creation of fake news. Only 36% placed the blame on journalists themselves. When it comes to fixing the issue, however, 53% of Americans demand that news media take steps toward a reduction in fake news.

What should be done to deal with fake news?

OC&C’s study showed that news consumers in both the US and UK believe that social media platforms should be held responsible. Facebook has already put the gears in motion to tighten the screws on fake news, hiring contractors to seek out and eliminate false or error-ridden content from the site. These contractors focus on articles or content flagged by Facebook’s algorithm or individual users, then research the content’s veracity.

A Facebook press release issued in October of last year claimed fake news on the site “fell dramatically” in the time between 2016-2018, with research showing a “substantial 75% decline in the proportion of Americans visiting fake news websites.”

Facebook’s fact-checkers, however, are overwhelmed and dubious about the effectiveness of their work. “Are we changing minds? Is it having an impact? Is our work being read? I don’t think it is hard to keep track of this. But it’s not a priority for Facebook. We want to understand better what we are doing, but we aren’t able to,” a Latin America-based fact-checker said in an interview with the BBC. 


More news on

×