Study finds only 4% of people surveyed can identify fake news

Fake News study

As part of Channel 4’s Fake News Week, the broadcaster commissioned a survey to find out how easily people can distinguish between real and fake news and how concerned they are about disinformation purporting to be fact. The EU referendum highlighted how dishonest both campaigns were when presenting their case – from the infamous £350million-a-week to the Osborne-penned predictions of of economic calamity  – the mainstream media was littered with fake stories and provided a template for the Trump presidential campaign and an insight into the post-truth world.

Distinguishing the fake from the true:

  • When those surveyed where shown six individual news stories, three of which were true and three of which were fake, only 4 per cent were able to correctly identify them all correctly
  • Half (49 per cent) of all respondents thought at least one of the fake stories was true
  • Despite half (49 per cent) of the respondents stating they were either very or fairly confident that they could tell the difference between a fake news story and a real news story – half of this group believed at least one of the fake news stories shown
  • Of those that stated Facebook as their primary source of news, 71 per cent thought at least one of the fake stories was true whereas only 47 per cent of those who primarily get their news from broadcasters thought this

Where people source their news:

  • 53 per cent stated their primary source of news was from Broadcast News (TV/Radio/Online)
  • 17 per cent stated their primary source of news was newspapers
  • 13 per cent stated other websites (not online newspapers) as their primary source
  • 6 per cent said their primary source of news was from Facebook
  • 2 per cent said Twitter was their primary source of news

Concerns over effects of fake news and not enough being done:

  • Half (49 per cent) state they are worried about the effects of fake news, especially 18-24s (57 per cent stating they are worried)
  • Almost half of adults (46 per cent) think we need more fact checking sites – with significantly higher agreement among 18-24s (69 per cent think we need more) and those that use Facebook as their primary source of news (60 per cent)
  • Two thirds of the British public (66 per cent) think social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter aren’t doing enough to tackle Fake News
  • 55 per cent think the government is not doing enough to tackle fake news

Fake News Week is a season of programming starting 6th February 2017.