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Majority of UK public wants Government to do more to tackle fake news, Reuters report finds

Nearly two-thirds of people believe the UK Government needs to do more to combat so-called fake news, a new report has suggested.

The report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found 61 per cent of those surveyed said they backed MPs taking efforts to combat misinformation, as an investigation is carried out into possible interference in the Brexit vote.

This came as a slump was seen in those finding their news on Facebook, which has been heavily criticised for spreading misinformation.

Nic Newman, research associate at the Reuters Institute, said: “A committee of British MPs has been investigating ‘fake news’ and demanded information from Facebook and Twitter about any Russian activity during the EU referendum.

“Pressure for some kind of regulation is growing, even as our data show social media usage for news starting to go into reverse.”

In the survey, 21 per cent of people said they had used Facebook as a source of news in the past week.

One focus group participant said: “I’ve actually pulled back from using Facebook a lot since the whole political landscape changed over the last few years because I just find everyone’s got an opinion.”

This year’s research saw a 2 per cent decrease to 27 per cent of those using Facebook as a source for news.

The report, which surveyed 2,117 people in the UK, came after the founder of the Leave.EU Brexit campaign, Arron Banks, clashed with MPs on a Commons committee investigating so-called fake news.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it was taking the fake news issue “very seriously” and was working with international partners.

“Our focus is in four key areas: research, education, developing tech solutions and looking at if there is a need for further regulation,” said a spokesperson.

“This is in addition to our ongoing work to address the challenges presented by the development of new technology, through the digital charter.”

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report also found that just 7 per cent of people in the UK pay for news online.

Picture: Shutterstock

Comments

4 thoughts on “Majority of UK public wants Government to do more to tackle fake news, Reuters report finds”

  1. I’d like to report the Sunderland Echo for today publishing a story that the people of Sunderland where 61% voted to leave the EU have now said they all want to stay in the EU now,This is fake news printed by a left wing newspaper. I’ve been out there asking lots of people about have you been asked by the Echo of your views and you know something not one person has changed their views. So why is it that the left wing Echo can put this scaremongering story out there. I would ask you how do I report this newspaper?

  2. The Government pulled an airstrike over a Fake News FaceBook Video of an alleged Chemical Attack that never happened. They got other countries to impose sanctions & to break Diplomatic Relations from Russia on the grounds of an alleged Nerve Agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, using a nerve agent that a single molecule would supposedly kill in seconds, yet there was enough of the agent to collect samples from all over the place. They said that Porton Down had said that this definitely came from Russia, when they said no such thing. Independant Swiss analysis showed it to be an agent that is made by NATO in several places – one of them being Porton Down. Bearing all this in mind, do you really think this Government is likely to crack down on Fake News?

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