Fake news drives Australians away from social: survey

Fake news drives Australians away from social: survey

Australia’s online news consumption habits are changing, with more people moving away from social platforms as a primary source of news, as over half believe they have fallen victim to fake news in the past year, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Media Consumer Survey.

While 37 per cent of consumers use digital news as a primary source, the number using social media has fallen. The number relying on social media as a primary source has fallen from 18 percent to 14, bringing the number in line with 2013 figures. Millennials, particularly those aged 14 and 27, are leading the social media charge, however, baby boomers were the only age range to report gains in this area.

One explanation for the drop is “fake news”, which thrived on social media in 2016 and has continued throughout 2017. Sixty per cent of respondents to the survey said they were concerned about fake news, with 77 per cent believing they had consumed fake content in the past 12 months. While the numbers may seem high, most Australian’s are not too concerned, with 80 per cent believing they can discern real news from fake.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, traditional news formats were more popular than digital. Fifty-five per cent of respondents said their primary source of news was either TV news, print newspapers, radio and/or magazines, compared to only 37 per cent primarily seeking digital. However, this distinction is shrinking.

The biggest concern for publishers is that 90 per cent of Australians are unwilling to pay for online news, believing there is too much available for free to warrant a subscription. Respondents said the key reasons to pay includes the want for in-depth news analysis, trusting a particular brand, or having an affinity for a writer or commentator.

The influence of print advertising is still the second strongest of all traditional media, sitting behind television and just above radio at 38 per cent, but social media is quickly rising as a competitor. Social media is the fastest growing influencer, reaching 36 per cent in 2017, particularly among millennials.