Two thirds of Brits worried about spread of ‘fake news’


Two years into the pandemic and with misleading news, images and video flowing in fast from the Russia-Ukraine war, research shows that 65 percent of Brits are concerned about the spread of fake news.

The UK is in the top three countries in Europe who reported being the ‘most concerned’ about the spread of fake news. Readly, Europe’s leading magazine and newspaper subscription service, has examined attitudes towards fake news and how this compares across Europe.

Almost half (44%) of people in the UK are ‘very concerned’ about the spread of fake news and one in five (21%) are ‘concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’, whilst five percent said they are ‘not concerned’ at all showed the YouGov research for Readly.

One in two people (46%) believe they are being exposed to fake news on a daily basis and two thirds (73%) believe this will increase over the next few years. One in four (24%) reported being exposed to fake news on a weekly basis and five percent said it is just monthly.

Media consumption and political values

​​The study also found that the majority of people (59 percent) believe that their media consumption makes a difference to their lives. 41 percent said it has increased their level of knowledge and understanding, 35 percent said it has highlighted new issues they might otherwise have missed, one in five (20 percent) said it shaped their political views, whereas 14 percent believe it affects their consumption habits and their choices of hobbies and interests.

Consuming verified, trusted news is ‘very important’ to 40 percent of people in the UK and ‘important’ to 27 percent. Ten percent of UK respondents reported that they pay for verified news, but a further 21 percent can imagine doing so if the spread of fake news continues.

Says Chris Couchman, Head of Content at Readly:

“Spreading false news has been a real issue over the last few years with Covid-19 and events at Number 10 and this has spiralled again with reports and images from Russia. We have been forced to become increasingly aware that we bear a personal responsibility to fact-check the content we consume and the sources we use to ensure they are accurate.

“Social platforms are met with widespread criticism for lack of action against the deliberate dissemination of fake news, which means that more and more consumers value and are willing to pay for reporting from trusted news sources.”

Austria, Italy and the UK feature in the top three countries whilst for France, The Netherlands and Sweden, only half of people reported it being a concern. The most concerned are:

  1. Austria – 68%
  2. Italy – 67%
  3. United Kingdom –  65%
  4. Switzerland – 62 %
  5. Germany – 60 %
  6. France – 55 %
  7. Netherlands – 53 %
  8. Sweden – 45 %

Readly provides unlimited access to 6300 digital magazines and newspapers in one app has reported 210,000 issues being read 120 million times in 2021. Readly offers over 40 newspapers as part of the all subscription including leading national daily press in seven European countries.

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Chris Price
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