Two years after the huge fake news scandal surrounding the 2016 US Presidential Elections, the readers’ trust in news is still a hot topic, according to the 2018 Digital News Report released by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
One of the #dnr2018 reports key findings is that the average level of trust in the news in general remains relatively stable at 44%, with just over half (51%) agreeing that they trust the news media they themselves use most of the time. By contrast, 34% of respondents say they trust news they find via search and fewer than a quarter (23%) say they trust the news they find in social media.
The report outlines that the news industry is on a recovering path, with more efforts focusing on high-quality content, paying subscriptions and a halt on relying of content aggregators and social media platform for content distribution.
Other key findings regarding trust are:
- Over half (54%) agree or strongly agree that they are concerned about what is real and fake on the internet. This is highest in countries like Brazil (85%), Spain (69%), and the United States (64%) where polarised political situations combine with high social media use. It is lowest in Germany (37%) and the Netherlands (30%) where recent elections were largely untroubled by concerns over fake content.
- Most respondents believe that publishers (75%) and platforms (71%) have the biggest responsibility to fix problems of fake and unreliable news. This is because much of the news they complain about relates to biased or inaccurate news from the mainstream media rather than news that is completely made up or distributed by foreign powers.
- There is some public appetite for government intervention to stop fake news, especially in Europe (60%) and Asia (63%). By contrast, only four in ten Americans (41%) thought that government should do more.