Four out of five Australians say they have fallen for fake news, AI content

Only 18% of Australians feel confident they have never fallen for a fake news item online, while over half don’t feel confident spotting fake news or AI-generated content when they see it.

This is according to the BBC Global Minds Survey, which explored Australians’ attitudes towards verifying news stories and the role of artificial intelligence in spreading misinformation.

According to the results, 73% of Australians could not be sure if they’ve fallen for AI-generated content, or fake news stories, with 9% of respondents able to pinpoint an example of when they were tricked by false online content.

Just 39% of respondents said they feel “well-informed about how to spot fake news”,  with 53% admitting they do not think they could identify a news article created using AI.

Australians are fairly evenly split over whether artificial intelligence is good or bad for society; 37% feel it has a positive impact on society, with 43% considering the impact to be negative. 70% of all respondents, however, agree that “AI amplifies the spread of misinformation in news”, with 64% not likely to trust news outlets that use AI to generate stories.

Due to this mistrust, 83% report “regularly using a secondary source” to double-check the veracity of a story if it first comes from an unfamiliar source.

Mainstream media sources are still considered the most reliable – with less than one in 200 people trusting celebrity-borne news. Social media trust also ranks poorly, with just 3.2% of respondents trusting it as a news source.

37% believing that it has a positive impact on society and 43% considering the impact to be negative. 70% agree that AI amplifies the spread of misinformation in news and almost two thirds (64%) said they are not likely to trust news sources which indicate that they use AI to generate stories.

“These findings demonstrate the high level of concern about the spread of misinformation and the role that new technologies can play in that, along with the importance of verifying news stories,” notes Jamie Chambers, BBC Studios’ VP, Australia & New Zealand ad sales.

“This feels even more significant in a year when half of the world’s voting age public could be partaking in elections and the role media & news publishers will play during these moments.

“The research also echoes prominent recent findings such as from the Edelman Trust Barometer that highlight the public’s fears around rapid innovation, and in particular the impact AI may have on society.

“The role of media during elections, increased risk of AI and heightened need for unbiased, trusted journalism offers a great platform for the BBC to showcase its value to audiences. Against the coming wave of generative AI, the BBC provides audiences with accurate, impartial information to navigate the rise in disinformation and shows audiences exactly what we know and how we know it through BBC Verify.

“It’s equally important to be transparent about what we aren’t able to verify, so audiences have all the information they need.

“This transparency is a vital part of our relationship with audiences and is paramount for our commercial partners, who in turn will enjoy the value that a trusted, premium environment delivers for their advertising campaigns.”


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