89% of Australians are worried about the spread of fake news

Two years into the pandemic – and with fake news and images flowing in fast from Russia-Ukraine – research shows that 89% of Aussies are concerned about the spread of fake news.

Magazine and newspaper subscription service Readly has examined attitudes towards fake news and how this compares across the globe.

Almost half (48%) of people in Australia are ‘very concerned’ about the spread of fake news and two in five people (41%) are ‘concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’, whilst 11% said they had ‘no opinion’, ‘not concerned’ or didn’t know what fake news was according to YouGov research for Readly.

The results also show a growing concern for fake news with the majority of Australians believing this will only worsen over the next three years.

“Spreading false news has been a real issue over the last few years with Covid 19 and this has spiraled again with reports and images from Russia. We have been forced to become increasingly aware that we bear a personal responsibility to fact-check the content we consume and the sources we use to ensure they are accurate. Social platforms are met with widespread criticism for lack of action against the deliberate dissemination of fake news, which means that more and more consumers value and are willing to pay for reporting from trusted news sources,” said Chris Couchman, head of content at Readly.

“The majority of us believe that the incidence of fake news will increase and if this is true, the demand for more journalistic content from credible and verified sources with responsible publishers will also increase. What we read in the media has a great impact on several parts of our everyday lives. It is of the utmost importance that we take part in consuming verified news from only trusted perspectives, especially at a time of uncertainty. Our platform offers a breadth of quality journalism from trusted publishers both in Australia and internationally,” Couchman added.

The study also found:

  • The majority of people (66%) believe that their media consumption makes a difference in their lives.
  • 39% said their media consumption has increased their level of knowledge and understanding.
  • 33% said their media consumption has highlighted new issues they might otherwise have missed.
  • 18% said their media consumption shaped their political views.
  • 34% believe their media consumption affects their habits, interests and choices of hobbies.

Consuming verified, trusted news is ‘very important’ or ‘important’ to 69% of people in Australia and around two in five already pay for verified news.

The survey was conducted by YouGov. A total of 1,057 Australians and 10,000 people across 8 European countries over the age of 18 were interviewed through the CAWI method during the period 24-29 November 2021.

Verified news is defined in the survey as news that is fact-checked by the publisher.


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