Executives think platforms should do more to combat fake news, are increasingly sceptical of social media and blame brands for adverts placed alongside inappropriate content – but they increasingly see news brands as a source of trusted content, according to a survey published today by Reuters Plus.
The third annual Tomorrow’s News survey, based on a new survey of 1,587 global executives, reveals that 87% of respondents think Google and Facebook should do more to control fake news, while 81% believe that Google and Facebook should be held accountable for content.
The survey – commissioned by the branded content studio of the world's largest international multimedia news provider – also finds that three out of four executives claim to have seen brands advertising alongside unsavoury or objectionable stories or videos, and 77% agree that advertising next to inappropriate content can damage the perception of a brand. Furthermore, brands are held responsible for where adverts are placed: 62% agree that “brands have full control over where their advertising appears”.
The research – conducted by Synergy Research and Consulting – reveals that executives are growing increasingly sceptical of social media as a source of news: they are less trusting of news shared on social media (24% trust the source of news stories shared compared to 28% last year), share less (38% actively share news vs. 49% in 2017) and are concerned about fake news (85% say fake news has made them doubt news stories shared on social media).
Executives are also keen to burst their “filter bubbles”: 76% say personalisation narrows their views and 88% want to see a balance of content they like and dislike.
While the findings of the survey may present challenges for platforms and advertisers, there are encouraging results for news publishers. 80% of the executives surveyed agreed that “a news brand is a mark of quality on a story” and an increasing number believe that their news consumption will continue to grow (66%, up from 50% in 2016).
96% prefer factual and impartial news content. Executive are also more likely to turn to online news brands over social media for “opinions from respected anchors, reporters or journalists” (80% v. 17%) and to “obtain in depth analysis and opinion of a news story” (88% v. 12%).
Munira Ibrahim, Reuters SVP for Sales and Content Solutions, said; “Advertising agencies and tech companies alike are having to pay more attention to good governance and integrity. Executives are looking for factual and impartial content in a trusted environment and the findings of this research highlight the enduring importance of trusted brands in an era of fake news.”
Key findings also include:
77% agree that misplaced ads can damage the perception of a brand
62% think brands have full control over where their advertising appears
Two thirds of global executives are more likely to notice an advertiser if it appears on a trusted news site
87% think Google and Facebook should do more to control fake news, while 81% believe that Google and Facebook should be held accountable for content