The fake news phenomenon and the role of market research
Paul Stallard - Friday April 26th 2019
It is hard to miss the fake news phenomenon. Every story has the potential to be tarnished with the fake news brush. This has led to trust levels among consumers taking a hit and brand reputations being harmed.
The BBC suggests that there are two types of fake news: “Firstly, false stories that are deliberately published or sent around, in order to make people believe something untrue or to get lots of people to visit a website. Secondly, stories that may have some truth to them, but are not completely accurate. This is because the people writing them don’t check all of the facts before publishing the story, or they might exaggerate some of it.”
Fake news research
Arlington Research interviewed over 2000 UK consumers about their attitudes towards fake news. We found that a third (36%) of UK adults we spoke to, consider any story without a proof point to be fake news. This worrying statistic can be attributed to the fact that only a quarter (26%) of consumers trust the media. This figure falls to just 22% for the over 55s.
It is therefore no surprise that fake news is becoming a real worry for people – with 46% of adults agreeing. How can they be sure that what they are reading is accurate? For a third (33%), it’s the use of statistics that gives a story credibility. Although it isn’t feasible or realistic to back every story up with a PR survey, it does highlight how the use of robust PR research can help.
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