Digital News Report: Australians are fact-checking to combat fake news

• 62% of Australian news consumers say they are worried about what is real or fake on the internet

High levels of concern about fake news have led to fact-checking by Australian news consumers, according to a new report from the University of Canberra.

The Digital News Report: Australia 2019 finds 62% of Australian news consumers say they are worried about what is real or fake on the internet, which is much higher than the global average (55%).

The report shows news consumers are beginning to take more action to counter their concern about fake news:

36% say they checked several different sources to check the accuracy of a story
26% say they have started to use more reliable sources of news
22% say they have stopped using unreliable sources
22% say the decided not to share a story they were unsure about
20% say they stopped paying attention to a story shared by someone they didn’t trust.

The Digital News Report: Australia 2019 also finds:

Australians would rather pay for Netflix than news: Australian news consumers would rather subscribe to a video streaming service, such as Netflix (34%), than pay for online news (9%).

News performance: Australians have given the news media a mixed report card. 66% think the news media does a good job keeping them up to date and 57% think they do a good job explaining events. However, less than half (45%) think they are holding the powerful to account; 44% say it is often too negative; and only 25% say the stories are relevant to their lives.

News avoidance and fatigue: The proportion of Australians avoiding news has increased from 57% in 2017 to 62% in 2019, and 28% say they are worn out by the volume of news. Eighty-eight per cent of those who are worn out by news, also avoid it.

Interest in news and politics: The proportion of Australians who say they are interested in news has dropped from 64% in 2016 to 58% in 2019; and 65% of Australians say they have a low interest in politics.

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