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Fake news online has fooled more than half of us at least once, study finds

Fake news online has fooled more than half of us at least once, study finds

  • 52% of 2,000 Brits admitted to having been cheated once by fake news online
  • One in 20 Britons believe everything they see online, survey reveals
  • Newsworks found that 80% of people find misinformation on the internet

More than half of Britons admit to being deceived by fake news online at least once, a study has found.

Newsworks, the newspaper industry’s marketing body, found that 80% of people regularly encounter misinformation while browsing the internet.

However, less than half of respondents said they had bothered to check whether this was true – and one in ten never did at all.

Jo Allan, Managing Director of Newsworks, said: “With the rise of misinformation, trusted journalism matters more than ever. And as fake news has become less easily controlled, we’ve seen an increase in people turning to news brands for information they can rely on.

“But that’s not enough and as an industry we need to do more to encourage advertisers to invest more in quality environments like news brands.”

The survey of 2,000 UK consumers found that 52% admitted to having been deceived by fake news online at least once.

Every minute, 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube, 5,000 videos are viewed on TikTok and 695,000 stories are shared on Instagram

Only 45% checked the reliability of what they read, while 12% said they never did. Of those who checked for accuracy, a third party said they reviewed the publisher’s name to make sure it was from a reliable source.

Newswork said it underscores “the importance of trust and legacy that new brands offer.”

This follows a study by the organization last year which found that more than two-thirds of people rely on journalists to lead the fight against misinformation about climate change.

A separate analysis by Newsguard and media analysts Comscore last year suggested UK advertisers are unwittingly spending £112million a year on advertising on disinformation sites. In March, an Ofcom study found that almost a third of UK internet users are unaware that what they see online may be fake or biased.

And one in 20 Britons believe everything they see online, the annual survey reveals.

Every minute, 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube, 5,000 videos are viewed on TikTok and 695,000 stories are shared on Instagram.

Given the sheer volume of information, Ofcom said it had “never been more important” for users to be able to decipher between fact and fiction.

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