Amid a backdrop of rising populism and economic and social instability, the 2019 edition of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report
was published this week. Given the current prevalence of fake news
, it found that trust in the news has fallen two percentage points across all markets, sliding from 44 to 42 percent. Trust is lower in distributed environments - for example, it stands at just 23 percent for social media. Given how rampant misinformation and disinformation are on the internet, where are people the most worried about fake news?
The report found that 85 percent of Brazilians
are concerned about what is real and what is fake on the internet in temrs of news. Concern is also high in the UK which is deeply divided over Brexit and it experienced the biggest jump out of any country included in the report. Concern about fake news online jumped 12 percentage points over the past year and it now stands at 70 percent.
The term "fake news" has of course become well established in the U.S. since President Trump assumed office and 67 percent of Americans are concerned about the issue, the same rate as in France. Concern tends to be lower in countries with less polarization and Germany and the Netherlands are two key examples at just 38 and 31 percent respectively. One of the consequences of all that concern is a greater awareness of trusted news brands. The Reuters Institute found that 26 percent of people have started relying on "more reputable" news sources while 24 percent said they had ceased using sources that have "a less accurate reputation".