Reuters study: the duopoly should fight fake news faster & brands must hone in on misplacement

Respondents also believe brands should be held responsible for where adverts are placed.

Google and Facebook should do more to control fake news and should also be held accountable for such content that appear on their platform, according to a new survey by Reuters.

The Tomorrow’s News survey, which is into its third edition, found that 87% of respondents think Google and Facebook should do more to control fake news, while 81% believe that Google and Facebook should be held accountable for such content, after surveying 1,587 global executives.

The slow response by these platforms to combat fake news has led respondents to grow increasingly sceptical of social media as a source of news, according to the report, as they are less trusting of news shared on social media (24% trust the source of news stories shared compared to 28% in 2017), share less (38% actively share news vs. 49% in 2017) and are concerned about fake news (85% say fake news has made them doubt news stories shared on social media).

However, it is not all gloom and doom for news publishers who are active on these platforms as 80% of the respondents agreed that ‘a news brand is a mark of quality on a story’ and an increasing number believe that their news consumption will continue to grow (66%, up from 50% in 2016).

96% of respondents also prefer factual and impartial news content, while respondents are also more likely to turn to online news brands over social media for ‘opinions from respected anchors, reporters or journalists’ (80% v. 17%) and to ‘obtain in depth analysis and opinion of a news story’ (88% v. 12%).

When it comes to advertising on these platforms, the survey found three out of four respondents who claim to have seen brands advertising alongside unsavoury or objectionable stories or videos, and 77% agree that advertising next to inappropriate content can damage the perception of a brand.

Respondents also believe brands should be held responsible for where adverts are placed as 62% agree that ‘brands have full control over where their advertising appears’.

“Advertising agencies and tech companies alike are having to pay more attention to good governance and integrity. Executives are looking for factual and impartial content in a trusted environment and the findings of this research highlight the enduring importance of trusted brands in an era of fake news,” said Munira Ibrahim, senior vice president for sales and content solution at Reuters.

The full Tomorrow’s News 2018 survey findings can be found here.

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