The Digital News Report: Australia 2018 is the fourth annual survey of online news consumption in Australia.
This year's report finds that three quarters of Australian news consumers say they have experienced one or more types of fake news, and they are worried about it.
The report reveals that 73% of Australian news consumers have experienced a range of fake news, including:
- poor journalism (40%).
- politically or commercially fabricated news (25%)
- stories pushing a political agenda (38%);
- advertorial (33%);
- satire (25%); and
- the use of the term ‘fake news’ to discredit the media (37%)
Those who mainly use online news sources report encountering fake news more often, compared to print and TV. Those who experience fake news also have lower trust in news generally.
The level of concern about fake news is higher than peoples’ experience of it. While only 25% of Australians say they have encountered politically or commercially fabricated news, 67% say they are worried about it. Similarly, 40% experienced ‘poor journalism’, but almost two thirds of survey respondents (63%) said they were worried about it. This disconnect between experience and concern reflects the heightened public debate around ‘fake news’ in politics and the news media.
The report also finds that 81% of Australians think it is the responsibility of media companies and journalists to combat fake news, compared to 75% who think it should be tackled by technology companies such as Facebook and Google. Only 68% thought it was up to government to solve the problem.
The Digital News Report: Australia is produced by the News & Media Research Centre (N&MRC) at the University of Canberra and is part of a global annual survey of digital news consumption in 37 countries, commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. The report is based on findings of an online survey of 2026 Australian news consumers conducted by YouGov at the end of January/beginning of February 2018. This is the fourth Australian report produced by the N&MRC.