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Fake news in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Fake news is an insidious and widespread issue in the news industry as a whole and has become a global problem. In the United States, the term and concept grew in popularity during the 2016 election, but has since manifested itself in areas outside the realm of politics. The most recent example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic – almost 80 percent of consumers in the United States reported having seen fake news on the coronavirus outbreak, highlighting the extent of the issue and the reach fake news can achieve.

Fake news content

The public’s confidence in their ability to recognize fake news is thankfully on the increase. This is an important step given that fake or inaccurate stories can quickly gain traction, and sometimes distort audiences’ perceptions and knowledge of subjects ranging all the way from public health to presidential elections. Indeed, there was serious concern among the U.S. public about the potential effect of made-up news and information during the 2020 presidential election. This sense of unease was entirely understandable after many audiences witnessed fake news during the 2016 campaign and since grew worried about the influence of misinformation on voters and elections in general.

Meanwhile, a survey among U.S. journalists found that some had received formal training regarding the spread of false information, an effort which if implemented across the board could have a very positive impact on the quality and credibility of the news made available to readers.

Fake news and U.S. audiences

The spread of false information is hard to control and audiences seem aware of this, with most expecting the fake news situation to worsen in the next five years. What many consumers may not realize however is that they also have a part to play in reigning in or slowing the spread of made-up stories. Fake news sharing is not uncommon and whilst savvier and more responsible news audiences refrain from passing on content they know to be false, this is not the case for everyone. Ten percent of respondents to a study admitted to having knowingly shared fake news to others, behavior which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

As audiences grow more discerning and learn to swiftly differentiate between suspicious and genuine content, there is hope that whilst fake news will continue to circulate (sadly an inevitability in today’s digitized world) consumers will gradually pay it less attention. Moreover, some analysts and consumers favor a combined approach from governments, official news publications, journalists, social media networks, and influential companies which seeks to identify and eliminate fake news from the news landscape. Whilst a good idea in principle, the reality of such an approach would almost certainly spark concerns about press freedom, something which is already worsening on a global scale. In the meantime, fake news will continue to be a threat, and the responsibility to restrict the spread of false content will fall mostly to the consumer.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Fake news in the U.S." and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Trust in news

Fake news consumption

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Fake news in the U.S.".

Fake news in the U.S.

Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!
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Fake news in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Fake news is an insidious and widespread issue in the news industry as a whole and has become a global problem. In the United States, the term and concept grew in popularity during the 2016 election, but has since manifested itself in areas outside the realm of politics. The most recent example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic – almost 80 percent of consumers in the United States reported having seen fake news on the coronavirus outbreak, highlighting the extent of the issue and the reach fake news can achieve.

Fake news content

The public’s confidence in their ability to recognize fake news is thankfully on the increase. This is an important step given that fake or inaccurate stories can quickly gain traction, and sometimes distort audiences’ perceptions and knowledge of subjects ranging all the way from public health to presidential elections. Indeed, there was serious concern among the U.S. public about the potential effect of made-up news and information during the 2020 presidential election. This sense of unease was entirely understandable after many audiences witnessed fake news during the 2016 campaign and since grew worried about the influence of misinformation on voters and elections in general.

Meanwhile, a survey among U.S. journalists found that some had received formal training regarding the spread of false information, an effort which if implemented across the board could have a very positive impact on the quality and credibility of the news made available to readers.

Fake news and U.S. audiences

The spread of false information is hard to control and audiences seem aware of this, with most expecting the fake news situation to worsen in the next five years. What many consumers may not realize however is that they also have a part to play in reigning in or slowing the spread of made-up stories. Fake news sharing is not uncommon and whilst savvier and more responsible news audiences refrain from passing on content they know to be false, this is not the case for everyone. Ten percent of respondents to a study admitted to having knowingly shared fake news to others, behavior which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

As audiences grow more discerning and learn to swiftly differentiate between suspicious and genuine content, there is hope that whilst fake news will continue to circulate (sadly an inevitability in today’s digitized world) consumers will gradually pay it less attention. Moreover, some analysts and consumers favor a combined approach from governments, official news publications, journalists, social media networks, and influential companies which seeks to identify and eliminate fake news from the news landscape. Whilst a good idea in principle, the reality of such an approach would almost certainly spark concerns about press freedom, something which is already worsening on a global scale. In the meantime, fake news will continue to be a threat, and the responsibility to restrict the spread of false content will fall mostly to the consumer.

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