News consumption has drastically evolved as more and more French people turn to digital newspapers, and print media distribution is losing steam. Sharing an article is instantaneous and just a few clicks away via social media, making it the ideal platform for the proliferation of misleading news. More than half of internet users declared having spotted fake news several times on their social media, and a third on a recurring basis. As a result, social media was the least trusted among news sources by French consumers.
The hunt for reliable information is thus proving more difficult than ever, and the public must be resourceful in order to gather credible factual data. To counter misinformation, many people are cross-referencing the information they have read with other sources. Nearly a third of French people said they had unknowingly relayed a rumor or information that turned out to be false about current political events.
Politics remain a major issue in the phenomenon of fake news, both as a source or target of false information. A large share of French people are also convinced that politics are the primary target of fake news, ahead of international news and celebrities. Public opinion is also generally in favor of a law against fake news, thinking that it would be a good initiative to make publishing on social networks and online platforms more responsible. More than half of respondents said that, besides citizens, media and information professionals should fight by forcing the platforms concerned to develop good practices.