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New Study Says 9 Out Of 10 Americans Fact-Check News While 96% Wish To Limit Misinformation Spread

The powerful role of digital media in today’s time cannot be denied. And while many Americans couldn’t be more grateful for freedom of speech, the country is now struggling with another major issue in this regard.

Yes, the US has become united in understanding there is a major problem with fake news and the spread of misinformation and disinformation. A lot of it has been ignored for far too long and now citizens are raising their concerns.

A recent study by SecurityOrg was carried out involving 1000 citizens. Their views on the media of today were analyzed and that’s where it was found that 9 out of 10 respondents needed to fact-check their news before they could rely on it.

In addition to that, a staggering 96% hoped they could somehow play an active role to limit the spread of disinformation in today’s time. 50% of those surveyed also had less trust in digital news than what was observed one year back.

While most people do claim they verify the news they’ve seen on social media, not all of them end up doing it before sharing it through forwarding posts on their social media apps. And that is what makes the problem so much worse.

As far as news reports from television sources are concerned, people would end up trusting those more in comparison to what was said or published online. Now that’s a little shocking as little do some know that television news can be biased to the core.

In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen the uprising of numerous digital platforms. The entire informational world has been transformed. Today, anyone and everyone can print out news, provided they have easy access to the internet.

With 3 in 4 US citizens making use of social media at least once in their daily routine each day, 41% mentioned something similar in terms of mainstream news too.

It was seen in the study how more people relied on social media as their go-to news source but in general, the data for both of these types of news sources are declining as we speak.

50% of the respondents don’t see the media world in the same light as that observed one year ago. Meanwhile, a quarter of them feel their trust over time regarding the media has become worse.

The report noted how all of these findings were observed in both genders and across different age groups. But it did alter when it came down to political party support. For instance, those who take pride in themselves as Republicans claim to have zero to little confidence in government-based media outlets or web pages.

To be more specific, more than 50% of Republicans felt mainstream news outlets don’t deserve an ounce of their trust, which varied starkly between Democrats and those who were politically neutral.

Another interesting finding from the report had to do with social media. Yes, it’s immensely popular but despite the fame, it’s yet to get that trust from its designated users.

Despite 200 million people interacting with social media in the US on a daily basis, one-third claim to never believe what’s written or rarely ever have faith in what they see.

While the social media apps providing news services are plenty, the one that’s trusted the least is Facebook, as revealed by the study’s polls.

That’s a bummer for Meta, considering the great efforts it claims to be putting to help rid the problem of misinformation. 42% of respondents claim that the posts they see across the app are so questionable, whereby 10% disagreed.

But then you look at Instagram, which is owned by the same firm. It compared so much better, in terms of the trust performance of users. Here, only 20% of users felt the need to verify content posted on the app or felt they had seen questionable content.

The second leading position went to TikTok, who despite its massive fan base, still couldn’t win people’s trust. But new reports feel this has to do with the app’s Chinese parent firm ByteDance, whose been intensely scrutinized by the US government.

In the study, the respondents were asked to give their opinions about credibility linked to 25 different news outlets on a national level. The final result would be a trust score, which was only obtained by 4 outlets.

As expected, politics affected the results significantly. Democrats favored the likes of BBC, NPR, Reuters, Time, and Associated Press. On the other hand, the Republicans were bigger fans of Fox News, Wall Street, and The Federalist.

While most citizens seemed to have a clear mind about what’s fake and what’s not, the great levels of distrust forced 90% of them to fact-check their news through various methods. And one of the most popular ways was through a web search.

This report by SecurityOrg has opened our eyes to how much work the media sector needs to do to gain back readers’ trust. Only then can we hope to see it flourish further instead of declining.
Read next: We’d Need Five Earths if Everyone Lived Like Americans, How Do Other Nations Stack Up?

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