NEWS1 June 2017

UK public expects social media companies to do more to tackle fake news

Media News Trends UK

UK – Only 20% of UK news audiences feel confident that the news they are reading is real, and 70% want social media companies to take more responsibility for tackling fake news, according to research from media agency the7stars. 

Fake news written on typewriter

The study found that nearly half ( 45%) of the Britons surveyed said that they found it difficult to understand what is fake news and what isn't. Two fifths ( 41%) said they were concerned about fake news, and only 7% felt that Facebook and Twitter were doing enough to protect them from stories designed to manipulate public opinion. 

Just 10% said they trusted news shared by friends on social media ( 45% said they wouldn't trust these stories). 

The study also revealed that UK news readers are ‘confused and resigned to the fact that they need to be able to establish the veracity of news themselves'. It also uncovered a strong sense of cynicism about neutrality and factual accuracy in the media, with 60% of respondents believing that the problem isn't new. 

Older readers were reportedly less confident about the quality of news they were reading: 52% of over 65s said they found it difficult to tell the difference between real and fake news, compared with 37% of 25-34 year-olds.

“Fake news has been a lead story for a while now and our findings demonstrate that UK consumers are concerned and feel that social media brands must do more to help them navigate the difference between the truth and ‘alternative facts’," said Frances Revel of the7stars.

“While some readers are clearly confident about finding reliable news information, others, particularly older readers are less so. The study clearly shows that confidence in real news could be damaged unless action is taken to help consumers.”

The study of 1,000 Britons was carried out by Populus Data Solutions on behalf of the7stars.