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Digital platforms most vulnerable when it comes to ‘fake news’

Consumers in the GCC believe digital platforms are the most vulnerable when it comes to problems with “fake news” in the region according to new research from market research company, YouGov.

The YouGov Omnibus survey, conducted among over 2,500 respondents, found that currently the most trustworthy GCC news source is TV, with seven in ten of those surveyed (72 per cent) placing either a little or a lot of trust in the broadcasting medium. This is followed by radio (trusted by 66 per cent) and newspapers (64 per cent), while digital platforms are the least trusted source for news (62 per cent).

When it comes to “fake news”, the results show most (68 per cent) consumers believe it is a problem on digital content. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents are concerned with “fake news” on TV and over half report concerns over “fake news” in newspaper (57 per cent) and radio (51 per cent) content.

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Just 1 in 5 place “a lot” of trust in news that friends and family share online

The study found social media is a key source of news content in the region, with 44 per cent of GCC residents sharing news online via social platforms at least once a day.

However, while two-thirds of respondents (65 per cent) say they trust news that friends and family share on social media, just one in five trust it “a lot”. Older consumers are the least trusting, with one in twenty over 40s not placing any trust in content that their friends and family share online.

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43 per cent think negatively about brands advertised on a platform that contains fake news

Consumers are cautious over the content they see online and six in ten have conducted independent research to check the validity of a news story.

Yet despite recognising the problem of “fake news”, they can be unforgiving when brands are associated in any way with it. 43 per cent think more negatively of brands, and 57% trust brands less if advertised on a platform that contains fake news.

53 per cent would stop purchasing from a brand found to be promoting fake or misleading content

The research shows how brand scandals can influence consumer behaviour and opinion.

For instance, if consumers discover a brand has been promoting fake or misleading content, the majority (53 per cent) would no longer make purchases from that brand, 43 per cent respectively would either choose a different brand in future or tell family and/or friends about it.

Furthermore, 43 per cent of respondents would stop following a brand on social media and a quarter (24 per cent) would delete the brand’s app from their phone.